Typically San Diego’s civic life winds down a bit in August. That really wasn’t the case this year with the mad dash to Proposition D and a whole host of other unfolding stories.
Fortunately, we at the VOSD offices still had the chance to make some major changes, work on some exciting longer-term projects, get out of town for a few days of rest and even have a baby.
Now that Labor Day has passed us here’s a rundown of what you can expect from us this fall and a few significant changes you’ll see:
• Election Coverage: I couldn’t be prouder of the job Liam Dillon did covering the political maneuvering that led to City Hall’s sales-tax and reform package. He’ll be following the Proposition D campaign with the same vigor.
Keegan Kyle will be on another big fall election: The battle between Supervisor Ron Roberts and challenger Stephen Whitburn. We haven’t seen general election for a supervisor in more than a decade so I know I’ll be keenly interested in how this one unfolds.
The school district saw plenty of election surprise during the summer, and Emily Alpert will be closely following how those two races unfold and whether current school board member Katherine Nakamura can successfully change election rules and be considered a write-in candidate.
We’ll also be keeping an eye on a number of other races and be nimble about jumping on important stories when we see them. With a small but tenacious staff, we only cover something if we think we can be the best at it or if no one else is doing it. So we won’t be trying to cover every election. Just the ones we feel we can cover the best or are in the greatest need of attention.
Let me know what you think we should be covering. My e-mail and phone number are at the bottom of this post.
• Here Come the Arts: This is exciting: We’re expanding our coverage of San Diego’s quality of life issues and moving into arts coverage. And we have a familiar face to do it. Kelly Bennett will be launching our arts blog later this week. Arts, the community around it and the intellectual pursuit behind it are central to a city’s quality of life.
We’re planning on going live with a soft launch on Thursday morning.
• Then What Will Happen to Kelly’s Beat?: Kelly’s a familiar face because she’s led our Survival in San Diego blog and housing/economics coverage for the last four years. We’ll still have numbers guru Rich Toscano watching the state of the market, and reporter Adrian Florido will expand his soulful coverage of San Diego’s neighborhoods to include tales of how the region’s economy is impacting its people and institutions. He’ll soon be taking over the Survival in San Diego blog, one of our best-read sections on the site, and putting his own twist on it.
• Seeking an Investigative Reporter: With all that shifting going on, we’ll be hiring again this fall. After I wrote the job posting for this one I realized I wanted it for myself: It’s a roving investigative reporter who will focus primarily on San Diego’s public agencies and public officials.
While we push all of our reporters to be investigative reporters, this position marks the first time we’ll be freeing someone from the daily grind of beat reporting so the reporter can float around the region hunting for the biggest stories, regardless of the theme.
• A Big Moment for Us: One last quick peek inside our offices: We reached a moment of maturity here at VOSD over the summer. For a while now, our board has been pushing me and my friend Scott Lewis to delegate more, and I think we finally achieved that.
We made a decision a while ago to plow our new resources toward new reporters as we grew over the last few years. After all, we were a new organization and had to build our credibility and strength through producing content. But we’ve really seen the development of a strong managerial and administrative team recently, and it’s been fun to watch them go to work.
While Lewis was out watching the birth of his beautiful (and very lovely named) baby boy, I had to be out of town for a wedding and turned it into a vacation. It marked the first time that both of us had been out of the office at the same time for any significant amount of time. (The only other time we were both out for more than a day was for my wedding in Guatemala, and I’m not sure either of completely felt good about it until they popped the champagne at the reception.)
The place didn’t miss a beat while we were out this month. Rob Davis has really stepped into the assistant editor role with aplomb. Grant Barrett, the engagement editor, has been a revelation. Dagny Salas has been an irreplaceable addition as our web producer. Camille Gustafson maintained her sharp eye on our fundraising operations. And Summer Polacek tended to our users with care.
Thanks, gang. We just took a nice step toward VOSD’s long-term stability.