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When we launched our new Raise Your Voice membership program in April, we set out to create a community of engaged residents who care about the issues impacting our city. But we also wanted to go a step beyond that. We wanted to change the way people consume news and information by making them an active participant in the conversation.

Considering it’s much easier to the read the newspaper on the couch than it is to actually get involved, we knew it could be a slow process. Turns out, people were hungry for the opportunity to raise their voice. We see growing evidence of this at every one of our events.

Whether it’s our Meeting of the Minds arts presentations, the One Voice at a Time conversation series, the Brews & News cocktail parties or our intimate Member Coffees, we see people who not only want to read the news, they want to question it. They want to debate it. They want to change it.

We also see it in the lively exchanges that take place on social media, in our reader comments and in our Fix San Diego letters to the editor. Perhaps the best examples are the 39 submissions we received for the Idea Tournament at Politifest. People have great ideas for how to improve San Diego. They just need a platform to present them.

We’ve also seen our community take shape as our volunteer corps expands with a passionate and diverse cross-section of local residents ranging from students to retirees who want to be a part of what VOSD is developing.

Our community is growing every day. Of course we wish it would grow faster and so do many of our supporters, especially in light of worries about the future of San Diego’s media as U-T San Diego’s new owners pursue acquisitions. Since I’m in charge of marketing and fund development, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we don’t just tell people to cancel their “other” subscriptions and give that money to VOSD. I’m not sure it’s our place to tell people how to spend their money. It’s our job to create options. That’s why we were founded.

Sure, I wish we had a huge advertising budget so we could produce slick TV commercials and plaster VOSD on every billboard in town. After all, once people discover VOSD they usually get hooked. But, right now, we have to utilize the tools in our toolbox. That means we keep cultivating our community every day and providing people an opportunity to get involved. We have to believe that if we all keep raising our voice, we’ll eventually be heard.

Upcoming Events:

Member Coffee, a members-only gathering to discuss the issues shaping our city.

Thursday, Oct. 25

8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Voice of San Diego office

2508 Historic Decatur Road, Ste. 120, San Diego, CA 92106

I’m Mary Walter-Brown, V.P. of Advancement and Engagement at Voice of San Diego. You can reach me at mary@voiceofsandiego.org.

Mary Walter-Brown

Mary Walter-Brown was formerly the publisher and COO at Voice of San Diego. She is now Chief Executive Officer of News Revenue Hub and can be reached at...

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