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Wednesday, February 09, 2005 | A Message from Voice’s Editors

A year ago today we presented ourselves to the world for the first time. You didn’t know what to expect. Neither did we.

We began a simple, yet pioneering idea, but we honestly weren’t quite sure how all those hopes and high-minded ideals would shake out when we unfurled a new model in journalism.

We didn’t know how it would be received. We didn’t know what it would be like to explain who we were to the people we wanted to interview for stories.

As you know, we eventually found out. And we couldn’t have been happier.

San Diego has welcomed Voice with open arms. Time and time again, we are approached and thanked by those who find it extremely refreshing that certain areas and issues have a new and different set of eyes looking at them. Those who embraced Voice from the beginning may remember San Diego several years ago, when the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Evening Tribune and the San Diego Union all competed not to conquer the other, but to get the best news out from as many perspectives as possible.

But we didn’t come out walking on a red carpet. There were – and, to be sure, there are – many challenges to this enterprise. Not only were we a new name but we were an entirely new concept. You only need one finger to count the number of locally focused, non-profit, online-only, daily newspapers in the country. We not only had to convince people we were doing serious news and commentary. We had to persuade them to find us: a little raft of credibility floating in an ocean of information.

Yet since we started, more than 270 readers have realized our potential and supported us financially. Our readership continues to climb. Our influence on the ongoing civic conversation has been significant.

In our first six months we did enough to turn some heads. Voice won “best overall news site” at the San Diego Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Awards. Our reports swept the first, second and third place in the breaking-news category.

We’re taking the research and writing on local issues that the talented journalists here do and getting it out to people in a more efficient, and vastly cheaper, way.

Some of San Diego’s most optimistic citizens have seen the value in that effort. The possibility that this town could once again become a hotbed of journalists from different organizations competing to be the most accurate, most enlightening and most entertaining sources of news has inspired many.

The San Diego region, then, may be moving in tandem with the largest cities in the country in terms of development and absorption of the rapidly changing forms of journalism available now. Such concurrence has not always been a mark of the San Diego culture, which can be quite disparate from that of the universities, think tanks and research laboratories that surround the city.

And we’re going to hit this second year with momentum we could have only dreamed about having last year.

Voice has distinguished itself so far with its coverage of the ongoing chaos and financial instability at San Diego’s City Hall. We’ve done so by ensuring that all of our stories provide a level of depth, insight and historical perspective. Many times politicians announce new initiatives, or provide solutions to major problems that are merely band-aids and short-term solutions. They do that because they know that few people will hold them to those decisions in the future – that the statute of limitations on accountability is only as long as the length of time it takes for newspaper to turn yellow.

The whole mission of Voice is to change that – forever.

And while we’ve made great inroads at City Hall, it’s time to expand that charter and show those who follow other issues that we’re following them too.

As many of you have noticed, Voice has begun focusing intensely on the housing and real estate situation in San Diego. We’ve fully engaged ourselves in analysis of the true “home-economics” of this place.

The next area to tackle for us is public health, water quality and supply issues and the ongoing discussion about whether this region needs a new or improved airport. You’ll be introduced, in only a couple of days, to the work of our newest reporter, who will engage these issues in the same way Voice has dealt with local politics and housing.

The best part of Voice is how quickly it can and will evolve. Just today we put up “Neil’s Nook” – an outlet where our senior editor can collect his various insights. It’s the kind of innovation we’re only barely learning to implement quickly and easily.

Through “Neil’s Nook,” Voice has given Neil Morgan, a journalist whose seen generations pass through the region, a new way to present his insights – just as it has given San Diego residents a powerful new way to have their own voice heard. If you have news or insight on a local issue, you now have one more solid outlet to present it to your neighbors.

We learned our trade in regular print newspapers. Hopefully as we explore the possibilities of the Web, San Diegans will come along for the ride.

It should be another great year, and we look forward to your support, your comments, your e-mails and your friendship.


The Editors

Neil Morgan

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