“I didn’t plan to go out on my own; this was an idea that came into my head, and I just couldn’t shake it lose,” he shares. “When I moved to Charlotte, I brought that idea with me; then, as I was taking care of my mom in the final stages of her life, I did a lot of thinking about life and why people don’t pursue our dreams. We’re afraid we’ll fail, we’re afraid we’ll look stupid. And I realized that none of that stuff mattered, and I wasn’t going to let fear stop me.”
In November 2008 – the same month Barack Obama was elected President – Burkins made that idea a reality. He launched Qcitymetro, an independently-owned, hyper-local website that offers news and information geared toward Charlotte’s African American community. Burkins serves as Editor and Publisher – and so much more.
“It ain’t pretty,” he says with a laugh when we ask him about his life as journalist-turned-entrepreneur. As the only full-time employee for the online publication that’s been telling trusted, well-respected stories for ten years now, Burkins splits his time between reporting, administrative work, and business development.
Whatever the role that respective day, there’s one thing that’s a constant for Burkins – his passion for the power of local media. The truth of it, as Burkins notes, is that social media and the internet are changing the game for a country historically and culturally known for strong media. Advertising dollars which once went to local media are now going to larger organizations. That means a couple of things, but one thing that’s dear to how Burkins has always done his job – there are fewer reporters on the streets. Qcitymetro is trying to change the game.