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Changing the narrative: Carvd N Stone focuses on news of the positive

Nyesha Stone via LinkedIn.

Positivity contrasts the negatives commonly found as a byproduct of news coverage as Carvd N Stone finds the happier moments to cover.

Carvd N Stone, a world-wide news outlet and marketing agency based in Milwaukee, reports on positive news and helps create positive branding to try and change the narrative of Black and brown communities. Its founder Nyesha Stone started the media outlet while attending UW-Milwaukee studying journalism when she saw flaws in how Milwaukee was being covered. She realized she could use what she learned to cover the news how she wanted — to spread positivity in her community.

“Those who actually train in journalism, they understand the field of journalism is to inform and to educate people. It has nothing to do with negativity. It’s literally about educating and informing,” Stone said.

When Stone realized that the mainstream press opted to focus on negativity, she realized she could do the same with positivity. In 2017, she started Carvd N Stone with the intention to bring a positive light onto what was happening in Milwaukee.

Carvd N Stone wasn’t meant to be a long-standing venture initially. After Stone realized that people liked what she was doing, she decided to continue with it. She decided to flesh out the business more, going through accelerator programs and pitch competitions, to get the experience she needed to keep scale the venture.

“I really believed in what I was doing because I saw something I knew that the world needed to change,” Stone said. “It just so happened, a few years later COVID hit, and people are dying for positivity.”

The media company looks for a positive spin however it can. When COVID hit, and most outlets were focused on death tolls, Carvd N Stone focused on positives that the pandemic brought out in the community.

“We were covering that this school was able to raise enough money to send this amount of kids to college or if we’re talking about the healthcare system, we’re talking about things that are wrong, so here’s a solution for how we can fix things,” Stone said.

Nyesha Stone with Packers legend Donald Driver. Photo supplied.

As people continued to resonate with what Carvd N Stone was putting out, Stone found another gap that wasn’t being met, and an issue most journalists face — low pay. Stone launched a marketing department to help clients with brand strategies and help get media coverage.

In the process, Stone also learned that a lot of BIPOC communities lack the knowledge to promote themselves the way a marketing or public relations firm would do for them. Carvd N Stone offered media workshops to teach clients how to become marketers for themselves.

“We noticed that they didn’t have the funding or even the knowledge when it comes to promoting or branding themselves and marketing their business,” Stone said. “We can do it for them, or we can teach them how to do the services themselves. So we went to hubs, like BizStarts, Sherman Phoenix… and we hosted  workshops where we’re teaching people how to become their own focus and how to become their own marketing person.”

Outreach and lifting people up is part of the mission behind Carvd N Stone. The media company decided to take it further by starting its own scholarships.

The CNS Scholarship Fund started in 2019, which was dedicated to support students and creatives, ended in 2022 after awarding $22,500.

A newer scholarship fund, the Loren Martin Hintz Travel Writing Scholarship, awards $1,000 to young writers interested in travel named after Marty Hintz, who died in 2020, after Stone was approached by his son, Steve Hintz. Marty voiced how impressed he was by Stone’s work in the past.

News, scholarships and helping the community aside, Carvd N Stone is looking to expand. Figuring out costs has been a large obstacle in scaling upwards, and finding a way to sustainably support local journalism has its own unique set of challenges, but to combat negativity Carvd N Stone is now offering subscriptions.

“People have been wanting to work for Carvd N Stone since we started and we have reporters around the country, but it’s hard to sustain it if no one’s supporting,” Stone said.

Stone is the only full time staffer at Carvd N Stone but has freelancers all over the country spreading its positivity message.

Subscriptions are $5 per month or $55 annually.