Rhodes College student Kendra Lyons is originally from Alexandria, Va., grew up in New Jersey and came to Memphis to start classes at Rhodes.
Digital publication theGRIND launched Jan. 25. Its mission is to celebrate what Memphis has to offer, bring controversial issues to light and recognize exceptional Memphians.
Somewhere along the way, though, this political science major turned into a transplanted fan of the Bluff City, so much so that she wants to put her love of writing into service of that passion. It’s why, on Jan. 25, she and a broader team launched the first edition of theGRIND, a new digital publication that joins the Memphis media scene with a specially tailored, upbeat purpose.
“Our mission is to celebrate what Memphis has to offer, to bring controversial issues to light and to recognize exceptional Memphians,” said Lyons, who’s working as both the editor-in-chief and a writer, and whose brother Parker is her business partner for the venture.
“I was really inspired by the big group of young people that’s starting to decide to come start their lives here, which is a big difference from what I saw when I first started at Rhodes. We want this to be something that’s unique, where people we interview say what they’re thinking and don’t hold back. We also have the utmost respect and interest in the history here.”
Right now, theGRIND consists of a team of 12. That number encompasses both website-focused workers and others more focused on content development.
The team behind digital publication theGRIND includes website-focused workers and others focused on content development.
The current edition of the site includes a mix of standard features such as new stories, spotlights on businesses, events and profiles of Memphians such as Tim Nicholson, president and owner of creative agency Bigfish.
Among the writings, Whitney Baskin, a senior English major at Rhodes, contributed a piece on the redevelopment efforts at Overton Square. Another writer penned an article on the Memphis arts scene.
An online feature that stands out is Humans of Memphis, a collection of photos that captures ordinary Memphians in their element, with the photos generally paired with a short quote. It recalls the popular online photography-centric blog Humans of New York, an evocative depiction of the daily ebb and flow of life in New York that also relies on high-quality photos of ordinary people.
Every month will see a new issue of theGRIND. Some sections, including news and sports, will get more frequent updates online.
“Our vision with theGRIND is to be as genuine and upfront as possible,” Lyons said when asked about the title. “I really wanted this to be tough-sounding – I didn’t want it to be something you’d see everywhere else. Memphis is a tough and hard-working city. So theGRIND refers to there being a lot of scars here, there’s obviously a Grizzlies connotation, and it’s just short and to the point.”
She plans to attend law school after graduating from Rhodes and, down the line, envisions herself working in corporate law. She loves writing, though, as much as the law.
And theGRIND, she adds, is intended for people of all ages in Memphis to enjoy.
In her biography section on theGRIND website, Lyons explains that once she realized she had a large group of friends staying in Memphis after graduating from Rhodes, she wanted to start the magazine – “something I’ve always wanted to but never really had the inspiration to. TheGRIND is everything I love in one – my best friends, writing, photography, music and Memphis.”