by Kim Wall
Nathan Whitehead cut his journalism teeth with The Crusader, Manchester Memorial High School’s student paper, as a contributor and assistant editor-in-chief. The Crusader proved to be a good fit with his interest in both journalism and politics. He also saw the paper as a great way to get involved with the school community.
Whitehead graduated in 2015 and, that fall, enrolled at the University of New Hampshire’s Durham campus as a political science major. With his continued interest in journalism and politics, he joined The New Hampshire, a UNH student-run paper where he contributed two articles per month.
As Whitehead was about to start his sophomore year, he decided to transfer to UNH’s Manchester campus where he could live at home, major in politics & society and also save a significant amount of money on room and board.
“Living on my own wasn’t worth all the extra loan money,” Whitehead said. “I live five minutes up the road from UNH Manchester, and I can walk to the school in under 20 minutes—and it’s a great school.”
Classically, one of the first things Whitehead did when he stepped foot on the Manchester campus was to search for the student paper. What he found instead was a stack of The New Hampshire newspapers.
“It felt odd to me that The New Hampshire was there in Manchester,” said Whitehead. “I worked at The New Hampshire and I knew what kind of news they cover. It’s about the town of Durham, UNH's campus in Durham and things happening there. It has almost no pertinent information for Manchester, expect maybe sports.”
This, Whitehead said, was the humble beginning of The Manchester Independent, or more colloquially known as TMI.
Whitehead credits Professor Seth Abramson, the TMI’s first advisor, with helping him broaden TMI’s perspective beyond the Manchester campus.
“We would discuss for hours on end, well after Professor Abramson’s office hours, how we could better improve the concept of the newspaper,” said Whitehead. “We’re in the heart of the mill yard and the tenth largest city in New England, why not capitalize on that?”
Together, they decided TMI would cover a broader spectrum of news, including tech, opinion, culture and sports for the greater Manchester area.
Fast forward ten months and Whitehead is now editor-in-chief and TMI has a team of nearly 30 volunteers, including contributors and directors of public relations, marketing and finance.
TMI officially launched online in the fall of 2017 and are now nearing 500 subscribers. The paper’s mission is to, “Strive to be the premier news media outlet for the greater Manchester area, with a brand built on a passion for professionalism.” The paper is currently funded by donations and contributions from the University’s student activity fund. Whitehead said they hope to secure advertisers in the near future.
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