Jennifer Szweda Jordan has been a member of the Work Hard Pittsburgh coop since 2015. Since then her business, Unabridged Press, has been telling and sharing stories from across the region by collaborating with other Work Hard coop members.
Recently, Jennifer sat down with us to tell us more about her business in our “Meet the Members” series.
Q – How did Unabridged Press get started?
(I’ve worked for) over twenty years in journalism including Associated Press, freelancing with NPR, and the Allegheny Front. I’ve always been working to bring less known subjects to the forefront of media. Unabridged Press officially incorporated in 2015. Unabridged Press is a media organization. The concept is like a book if unabridged has all the content. The idea is that I am working on stories that are highlighting people…often in the margins in our culture narratives….looking to expand those narratives to include those people.
Q – What do you like best about the Work Hard Pittsburgh’s Cooperative environment?
I love that if I were working at home I wouldn’t be able to bounce ideas off people. I feel like I make better creative choices because there are people here who have different experiences and different ideas. It’s great for brainstorming in that way and just really makes work more fun…being face to face instead of setting up meetings.
Also, I enjoy that there is equipment that can be used. There was a week where my laptop died and I really couldn’t do too much work with my tablet, especially with audio or video edit. I was able to use the Work Hard workstations and the Adobe software, and I was able to learn how to use it very quickly working with other Work Hard members.
Another plus is Work Hard is easily accessible by bus.
Q – What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a project called StandUp Sisters. It is an opportunity for Catholic Sister who work in education, healthcare, services to poor – historically and currently- to showcase their life story. It’s a combination of staged events – live events with an audience – and those events are recorded live and transferred to podcasts. It’s based off the “moth” model of storytelling.
Also, I work with people with intellectual disabilities in their homes. I’ve come to realize the real potential they have in communicating and sharing their stories. I’d like to do some work around them to have their own podcast and interviewing.
Q – How did the StandUp Sisters get started?
StandUp Sisters came about because I myself was exposed to women in the Catholic Church and the environmental work they do. But I realized most people aren’t aware of that. So, I wanted people to know about that and include it with National Catholic Sisters Week. I got a small amount of money to get this started. I was able to hire and work with Buzzy of Epicast and Ryan of Haggerty Media to create the event and recordings.
One of my favorite pieces of the project is the logo. Within the Work Hard network, I reached out for a graphic designer, and within about 24 hours, Eric of Cintacs had responded. I sent him some of my primitive sketches and later that week I had a logo. I’ve been able to use it for the all of our signage plus even created a bag and a tattoo.
One of the really gratifying moments from the first Stand-Up Sisters event was when Ed Blank – a long time Pittsburgh movie critic – was in the audience said he could he “have listened all night” and that just really warmed my heart.
Q – How does Work Hard Pittsburgh’s cooperative structure add value to your business?
Collaboration has really benefited my business. With the StandUp Sisters events, working with Epicast, the audio quality was really excellent. I was able to do a lot with the clean audio, and knowing I could rely on them. And being able to interact with him and Ryan on the day of the event, going over to the venue and looking at things with them really built a lot of confidence for me. I’m planning to do another event in March for National Catholic Sisters at nearby university and plan to incorporate Work Hard members again for that event.
You can find out more about Unabridged Press on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also stop into Work Hard Pittsburgh to meet with Jennifer in person. Jennifer can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.