So It’s Come To This: A ‘Simpsons’ Related Blog Post.

Mom, Dad — you were wrong. All that ‘Simpsons’ watching did actually lead to something worthwhile! (In this case, it led to a pretty decent idea for how we can better tell the story of Springfield.)

story by Dan Oshinsky
published June 7, 2012

If you saw our first story about Springfield on Stry.us — Jordan Hickey’s intro to the city — then you know already:

We really like “The Simpsons.”

But the show doesn’t just make us laugh around the office. It’s also filled with useful story ideas!

One of the great things about “The Simpsons” is its community. The show isn’t just about Homer and Marge and their family. It’s about a fully developed community that lives in Springfield. There are dozens of obscure characters — Duffman! Lionel Hutz! Cletus! Lunch Lady Doris! — who all have bit parts on the show. But they fit into this larger universe that exists in Springfield, and they help viewers understand exactly how Homer’s and Marge’s world works.

And the more we’ve discussed this idea, the more we’ve come to realize that — as is the case with just about everything on “The Simpsons” — there’s some potential for practical application.

We think introducing a broad cast of characters — or, in our case, real people — will help readers understand Springfield, Mo., a little better than they did before. So, on top of the long-form, issue-centric reporting you’ll see on the site, you’ll also start to see profiles of local leaders, influencers and citizens.

We hope that by presenting these profiles right alongside our longer pieces, you’ll come to learn more about this city and the challenges that they’re taking on in their day-to-day lives.

And when one of our profile subjects pops up with a quote or an anecdote in a longer story, you’ll recognize their names already, and know a little more about where they’re coming from. We hope that these profiles will help present a fuller and better defined picture of Springfield, Mo.

Sarah Elms wrote our first profile yesterday on Jammie Russell, the starving artist of Clever, Mo. We hope, of course, that you like it — and that you understand the culture of the Ozarks (and where Jammie fits in) just a little bit better after reading it.