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This has been quite a year for us, and for that and so much more, we have to thank you.

From the start, we asked you to trust us. We knew we couldn’t just do it blindly — that we’d have to earn it through hard work each day.

That first day, we had nothing else to convince you with besides our stories. It was 2005, and there wasn’t anything like us out there both in San Diego and across the country. But you’ve stuck with us, joined us, forgiven our growing pains, helped us grow stronger and trusted us. We appreciate greatly that faith and don’t take it lightly.

The fruits of our efforts together hit a zenith in 2008. Because of your readership and financial support, we continued to grow and add staff at a time when other media outlets around San Diego and the nation shrunk. We produced the kind of public-service journalism that produces real, positive change in a big city. We told stories that weren’t being told.

The most amazing moment of this whole experience for me, personally, came in November when The New York Times did a front-page story on us and the rising trend of nonprofit online dailies. It wasn’t about seeing the faces of our reporters in the big paper (although I have to admit that was really cool). It was the response that came afterwards. Our e-mail inboxes were flooded for weeks with all sorts of notes and letters and inquiries.

There were our loyal readers and supporters, excited and proud. There were San Diegans who had just learned about us and fascinated that we were out there. There were other journalists from across the globe sending notes of thanks for giving them inspiration in a rather gloomy period in the industry. And there were the entrepreneurs, philanthropists and other journalists dying to know if they could start something similar in their communities.

Now it’s our turn to send you our note. Thank you for your trust and for taking a chance on something new and different. Thank you for giving us the privilege of telling your stories and for providing San Diego another outlet for those stories.

You’ve given us quite a year.

And now we’re excitedly planning for the next one. If you’re looking for a year-end donation, please consider helping us grow better and stronger by clicking here to donate online. If you’d prefer to send a check, just click here for all of the information you need.

In the meantime, we’ll keep working to deliver the fresh, in-depth and investigative reporting San Diego deserves. And we’ll continue improving the site and our journalism in every way possible. We know we still have a long way to go.

You might sometimes disagree with us. You might think we’re way off other days. But any mistakes we make are of the mind and not of the heart.

Thank you again for your trust, your readership and your support. We know we have to keep earning it with every story we post.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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