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We’ve arrived at an exciting moment here at voiceofsandiego.org.

At a time when news organizations around the country are shrinking and the news they produce declines in quality, we’re growing in size and beefing up our coverage. We recently added a new reporter position, expanding our coverage into San Diego’s all-important science and technology community.

We’ve also added less-visible but equally important help in the last month, bringing in employees to aid us with our website and our fundraising.

It’s a far cry from where we were in February 2005 when we first launched. Then, we had two reporters trying to sift through City Hall’s dirt. Now, we have a group of nine professional journalists who bring you expert coverage and analysis on some of San Diego’s most important quality-of-life issues: politics, housing and jobs, education, environment, public safety and science and technology.

We’ve done it all because of readers like you. And we’ve done it all quite efficiently on a shoestring budget.

But it’s not free to produce. And we want to keep growing and keep expanding into new areas, bringing voiceofsandiego.org‘s style of original and investigative reporting to brand new corners of San Diego life.

So help us out, if you can. We’ve been able to expand our reach and journalism because of the generous financial and moral support of readers like you and the generosity of caring local philanthropists and foundations.

Our readers and supporters, like many others around the country, are beginning to understand that journalism at its core is a public-service institution.

With newspapers shrinking, civic-minded citizens are realizing that the important journalism that informs us about our neighborhoods, holds those in power accountable and tells this region’s stories, needs donations to survive just like the symphony, homeless shelter, food drive or museums. The financial model for newspapers is crumbling, and they can’t leave journalism up to the whims of its old and dying model.

We’re a nonprofit organization. We don’t charge for access, nobody’s getting rich, and we rely on donations from readers like you to keep delivering some of San Diego’s best journalism. It’s all done online, so it’s amazingly efficient (no costs for paper, ink and the gas it takes to deliver all those papers) and it’s environmentally friendly.

Some people can give $10. Others can give tens of thousands of dollars. Whatever you can muster would be great. Why should you give? It’s simple: We’re telling the people of San Diego valuable stories that you wouldn’t be getting otherwise.

Two weeks ago, our running two-year investigation into a city of San Diego redevelopment department dropped a bombshell: employees at the agency had been giving themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in hidden bonuses.

The story spread like wildfire, forcing the rest of the San Diego media to chase the follow-up, and spurring an investigation by the mayor, a freeze in the agency’s funding and the call for the president to resign.

No one would know about any of the agency’s questionable dealings had it not been for voiceofsandiego.org. We were created to produce this kind of important journalism.

But it’s not free. And it’s the exactly the kind of journalism that newspapers are cutting back on as they turn to tabloid-like stories to drum up attention and readership.

It took two years and plenty of resources to finally get the attention of the city’s residents, politicians and the rest of the media that this redevelopment agency needed to be examined.

There’s plenty more here that’s new on this site that I’m tremendously proud of and have you readers and donors to thank for, such as our award-winning education coverage, our examination of local politicians’ water bills, our look at the thinning gray whale, the often-prescient coverage of the housing market, and our monthly peek inside the workaday life of our fellow San Diegans.

Don’t just take my word for it. The Christian Science Monitor called us “a ray of hope for a troubled industry” in this story about our role in the growing nonprofit journalism movement nationwide.

So, that was a long-winded way of getting to this point: We’re in the midst of our summer fundraising campaign, “Double Your Voice.”

Thanks to two very generous supporters, all new or increased membership contributions will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $5,000 for each individual or organization.

So, please, click here to donate and be a part of a media revolution.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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