Yesterday morning I was on the radio talking about City Hall and all the things going on and after I hung up, I took my dog for a walk and all of a sudden it hit me: what an amazing couple of weeks we’ve had.
A lot of you have been with me from the start. You’ve followed this raft since we set sail. You’ve watched our site evolve from a rather discombobulated collection of local writing to a powerhouse — a machine of news, investigative reports and in-depth authoritative writing on local public affairs.
I wish you could have been inside the office these last few weeks. We’ve been working late into the night. But it is electric in here. Think about the stories that have come out of this newsroom in the last few weeks.
There’s the obvious one. Will Carless‘ investigation has exploded into a major scandal in the city — perhaps the biggest of the year. The U-T now has a whole team of reporters on it. Bloggers and television outlets are all over it.
But in the midst of the frenzy, the news team has pumped out several other big stories. There was Emily Alpert‘s great report on a system designed to pay off school administrators to leave their jobs only to welcome them back in a different capacity.
And how about Rob Davis‘ continuing research into CCDC President Nancy Graham and her bizarre inability to say whether, indeed, she has recused herself from the negotiations and deals involving a company she used to have a relationship with? The company, ironically, is named Related. Check that, she has said she recused herself. The facts seem to be piling up on the contrary.
All of these came out in the last two weeks.
Like I said, it’s been electric in here. We have a small staff and small newsroom. It’s nothing like the cavernous halls of a major newspaper. We don’t have any barriers between our desks. One person’s enthusiasm about a story or scoop makes us all excited. If they’re fighting with someone for information on the phone, we all share in the battle. It’s almost too much sometimes. We work late into the night and on occasion — much to the consternation of people waiting for us at home — we forget what time it is.
This isn’t a job. It’s a mission. And we’re eating up every moment of it.
If you’ve never seen a reporter come back from an exciting interview or investigation of important documents with the wide eyes of someone who has indeed discovered something very telling about the world we live in, you really need to try it sometime. There is no better way to get a shot of adrenaline and make you feel like you are part of something special.
We’ve faced down a lot of obstacles in this effort to provide a new outlet of news, analysis and investigative reporting in San Diego. But here’s one:
We’ve never had a web developer on staff. We’ve only rarely had the opportunity to contract out services. And we spend less than 5 percent of our budget on publishing and distributing the news.
Newspapers can spend 60 percent or more of their budget just printing and distributing their papers. It was our founders’ theory that we could cut that part of the business out and put everything that we possibly could into a professional staff of journalists. And then, it was their insight that there simply wasn’t going to be any profit to be made from the effort. The time of newspapers generating billions in profits for their owners may be over for the indefinite future.
But we knew there was a desire to keep journalism alive and people will support it.
What’s my point? We survive off of the generous donations of our more than 600 donors. We do receive advertising and sponsorships and this portion of our revenue will grow. But the bulk of our funds come from those donors and the many foundations that have given us grants.
So, we’re asking you to join them this week. Two generous supporters have offered to match the new or increased donations we receive for the rest of the year up to $100,000.
If you like what you’ve seen from us, please take a moment to give. We know that some readers are able to give only a few dollars. Others can give much more.
Whatever you can do to support us, we appreciate. Every month, our new members are invited to the newsroom for coffee and bagels in the morning.
If you’d like to get a slice of that feeling I was describing in the newsroom, sign up and become a member.
Or, if you just want to make sure that every day you turn on your computer, you have local news and analysis, take a moment to invest in us.
You’ll see how we use your money every time you log on.
Update: As you may have noticed, showing extraodinary timing, our newly acquired service for processing donations online has gone down. Until it’s back up, we have an alternative here. Also, you can always just send a donation to this address:
2508 Historic Decature Rd. Ste. 120
San Diego, CA. 92106
Thanks for your patience. They say it will be back up by 6 p.m.