Back in the early 70s, Barnett, then a Northwestern undergrad, sold ads for the Reader. Former owner Tom Yoder calls him “the first successful Reader ad salesperson” we had. The idea of giving away the paper and making the advertisers pay all the freight was a radical one back then, and the Reader‘s future depended on showing merchants that the Reader connected them with such desirable readers that the surcharge was worth it. Barnett made the case. If no one had, the Reader, founded in October 1971, would have gone out of business.