Aug. 10, 2020, seems so distant now, far longer than one year ago. There was nothing normal about 2020, and not much normal about 2021 so far. Yet that date, not so long ago, is when our team set in motion the Rivard Report’s next big changes in its continuing development and evolution.
That’s the day the Rivard Report became the San Antonio Report. Happy first birthday, San Antonio Report, even as we anticipate our 10th anniversary of continuous publication next February.
Aug. 10, a Monday, was about more than a name and logo change. It was the first step in a plan thoughtfully assembled by our board of directors to put next-generation leadership in place, for the business and for our newsroom. First we needed a next-generation name that set the Report apart from its co-founders — my wife, Monika Maeckle, and me — and established a clearer tie with the city it serves.
The Rivard Report had been publishing for more than seven and half years by Aug. 10, and long ago had become a team endeavor. We needed the name to reflect that.
Less than five months later we took a big second step and welcomed Angie Mock as our new publisher and CEO. Mock, the longtime CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, was no stranger to the Report, having served on the board as treasurer for the preceding two years.
We knew we wanted a proven business leader and fundraiser from the local community when we launched our search. We had no idea we would find the right person so close by.
When the Rivard Report was younger and smaller, I held both the publisher and editor titles, and certainly all the duties that came with both jobs, but as our nonprofit enterprise continued to grow with San Antonio, it became increasingly obvious the board needed to add executive talent and separate the two jobs.
I give myself a pretty good grade for fundraising before Mock’s arrival, given my long career as a journalist unaccustomed to asking people for money. I still join donor calls, but it’s nice to leave that work to someone with more talent and experience in that realm.
The next big step is recruiting a new editor-in-chief, which should be accomplished soon. Meanwhile, amid the concerning spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, we are gingerly approaching a return to our offices at 126 Gonzales St. in historic St. Paul Square. We are stronger as a team working together than individuals working apart, but we also care deeply about the health and welfare of our colleagues and their families.
I look forward to the day when my own business card reads, “columnist.” I also look forward to having more time to move through the community in search of insights, good stories, and closer connections with the many people who make this city hum. There is nothing I enjoy more than thanking people individually when they approach me and tell me they are a supporting member of the San Antonio Report.
Often as not, they tell me they are members of the Rivard Report, and then sheepishly say they still trip over the new name. You’ll forgive me for not rushing to correct them when they misspeak. After all, I am proud of what we built here. It took a lot of hard work, especially in the early days, and Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick and Photo Editor Scott Ball, our first two employees here, are still with us. Ask me how proud I am of that.
We probably got lucky, along with all that hard work, in not somehow failing or falling short in the beginning. Yet there is one other major element in our success, and that is you, our readers and supporters. Some of the city’s most prominent donors, people like Charles Butt and Graham Weston, made it possible for us to launch the Rivard Report — and still generously support us. But thousands of other people, the majority of them not household names, are the ones who have helped sustain us. Members whose annual or monthly contributions have made it possible for us to grow into the thriving organization we are today.
Many new members joined last year when we changed our name and campaigned for support around that initiative. Many existing members dug deeper and helped out, too. Now I am asking for your ongoing support as we continue on our path to what’s next.
“What’s Next?” is the theme of the fourth annual San Antonio CityFest scheduled for Oct. 13-15. It’s going to be a great event if the city can stay healthy. More on that very soon. Thank you for your readership and your support.