Nyesha Stone’s earliest memories of reading came from spending time with her grandmother.
Raised on Milwaukee’s North Side, Stone remembers her grandmother bringing her beloved romance novels out into their small backyard for an afternoon of reading, and taking trips to the library to pick out her own books. It wasn’t long before she was writing stories of her own.
Despite her love of stories, Stone never considered becoming a storyteller herself. It wasn’t until reviewing college majors in late high school that she realized she could turn her love of writing into a career.
After enrolling in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Stone joined the college’s news outlet where she worked as a reporter covering the 2016 election, sexual harassment on campus, and the water crisis, among other multimedia stories. Her work led to various news internships, visits to major newsrooms and an upstart freelance career, writing stories for regional publications including The Waukesha Freeman and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
But after graduation, her prospects for working as a full-time journalist began to dim. As a cub reporter working for a community newspaper, she found herself burning the candle at both ends — not to mention feeling emotionally exhausted by the onslaught of negative coverage, especially as it related to its portrayal of Black and brown folks.
In a study from the National Research Group, two out of three Black Americans said they don’t feel properly represented in the media. At least 87% of respondents said these portrayals led to how society views Black people in the real-world. Other studies have highlighted the negative impact of crime coverage, for example, which often features mugshots of people of color (though this is changing in many newsrooms) and can affect criminal justice outcomes.
Enter Carvd N Stone. What started as a creative outlet for Stone, now 25, soon ignited an entrepreneurial pursuit to launch an alternative media company altogether — one that slowly took shape to provide “positive community” news.
It’s furthering a national journalism trend toward solutions — broadly, what is working versus what’s not — locally and beyond.
“Positive news is needed not just for Milwaukee but the rest of the world,” Stone told Technical.ly. “Nobody asks why traditional news only covers negative news, so I feel like positive news deserves the same type of respect.”
Turning Carvd N Stone, where Stone penned mostly human-interest features, into a revenue-earning business presented a challenge. But she chased down an opportunity to take part in The Blueprint accelerator which helped her create a viable business model and grow her vision.
Today, Carvd N Stone is a weekly source of positive news covering Milwaukee and other regions. It includes original reporting, curated news, and guest contributions for uplifting stories ranging around community, arts and culture. Stone leans on the revenue from her PR division to fund the coverage.
Outside of Carvd N Stone’s mission, she is also determined to give back to the creative community. Since launching the media startup in 2017, Stone has raised thousands of dollars in scholarships for emerging creatives ages 17 to 28; this year, she’s aiming to raise more than $22,000 for her CNS Scholarship Fund. The funds can be used to pay toward college tuition costs, business supplies, food — even rent. Stone said she knows firsthand what it takes to hustle to chase after her own dreams.
“No matter what age you are, you can do what you want,” Stone said. “Journalism opened up what I can give to the world. It’s just the start for me. I really want to do so much more.”
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