Wendy Lane Cook wears a Rivard Report shirt.
Wendy Lane Cook, Rivard Report copy editor and writing coach, participates in the King William Parade during Fiesta 2018. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Our readers are not shy about sharing their views on the most important and interesting issues of the day, and their voices reach far beyond the comments section at the end of each article. Hundreds of people from all walks of life in San Antonio have seen their commentaries and stories published on our home page under their own byline and photo.

This isn’t anything new, although the contributions keep getting better, and they benefit from more skilled editing. Readers who write for the Rivard Report are part of our DNA and distinguish our website from other local news sites. We serve as a community platform for people from various backgrounds in San Antonio.

We hope that inclusion and the spirited discussion and debate we promote inspires you to become a supporting member or to renew your existing membership to the nonprofit Rivard Report as we mark Day Four of our nine-day Spring Membership Drive. We could not do what we do without you. If you find value in our community journalism, we invite you to click here to donate securely.

Our staff of 17 journalists and business team members have benefitted enormously from the generosity of San Antonio’s leading philanthropists and major foundations, but the heart and soul of our membership base are individuals and small businesses. These are the people who donate $100 annually or even $10 a month on their credit cards.

Our membership drive makes this a good week to highlight a few commentaries that have appeared recently on our site. If we stay on track to set a new site traffic record in May it will be thanks in no small part to readers who have written for us.

In the event you missed these contributions, take some time this Sunday to read the good work produced by a diverse range of local readers. Here are six published pieces selected by Editor-in Chief Beth Frerking that appeared on our site between April 28 and May 16.

San Antonio native Drew Smith, a principal with Headwaters Urban, contributed Progressive Development Will Help SA Finish the ‘Decade of Downtown’ Strong, which we published April 28.

Two days later, on April 30, we published a submission by Rev. Ann Helmke, an ordained Lutheran (ELCA) minister currently serving as the community faith-based liaison for the City of San Antonio: Day of Reflection: Seeing the Challenges in Our Mutual Future.

The commentary written by Lucero Saldaña, an English-language learner coordinator and Mexican-American Studies teacher at KIPP Camino Academy, appeared  May 1:  ‘We’re Important, Too’: Why We Must Teach Mexican-American Studies.

The most widely read submission from a reader article came from Hondo native David A. Garcia, a private practice counselor, who wrote, San Antonio Bids and Bids, But Never Learns, a passionate call for greater investment in public education in San Antonio, written in response to one of my columns.

The culinary choices in San Antonio have never been better or more varied. Julia Celeste Rosenfeld, a longtime local restaurant critic and food guide, wrote Redefining Fine Dining on San Antonio’s Terms in response to impassioned discussion following a business story published on May 10.

San Antonio Spur Pau Gasol wrote his homage, An Open Letter About Female Coaches, to groundbreaking Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon for The Players’ Tribune, a new media company that provides athletes with a platform to connect directly with their fans, in their own words. Editors there graciously granted reprint rights to the Rivard Report.

Readers stepping into the role of writer dates back to our first month of publication in February 2012 when my wife, Monika Maeckle, published the Rivard Report‘s inaugural article, my enthusiastic commentary about a resurgent Broadway Street led by the Pearl. That drew a passionate response headlined San Antonio? Not Anytime Soon, written  by Jeremy Fields, a former Lake Flato architect living and working in Hamburg, Germany. Fields suggested I should temper my exuberance over an evolving San Antonio, which he said paled in comparison to the livability of his 800-year-old northern German port city.

Daniel Lazarine, a Kell-Muñoz architect at the time who later went to work for Lake Flato, quickly fired back with I’ll Take San Antonio.

Fields’ well-argued scolding was followed two months later by freelance writer Callie Enlow’s seminal piece headlined, Left Behind: Why People Leave San Antonio. It remains the third best-read article among the more than 10,000 stories we have published. Enlow, herself a journalist, eventually left San Antonio for life and work in Los Angeles.

Her lament prompted Michael Cepek, an assistant professor of anthropology at UTSA and a Chicago native living in Tobin Hill, to write his own counterpoint to Enlow and Fields: Young, Educated, and Happy in San Antonio.

I’ll close by singing the praises of two lower profile editors who contribute so much to the quality of the Rivard Report.

Production Editor Hanna Oberhofer is our gatekeeper for all of the community content cited above. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Austria, fluent in German, who earned her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s University and her graduate degree in journalism from Texas State University, where we first met.

Wendy Lane Cook, our copy editor and writing coach, is a former Associated Press correspondent and bureau chief with a speciality in sports. She covered multiple Olympic Games for the AP and rose to become the deputy sports editor of the Washington Post before returning home to San Antonio, with her husband, Monty, and their two daughters, Emma and Katie.

We have a great team here. What each person has in common beyond a lot of talent is a passion for quality journalism and for the city we call home. We hope you find that good reason to support our continuing work, and perhaps, a reason to submit your own commentary.

Disclosure: Drew Smith is a principal with Headwaters Urban, which partners with Overland Partners, a Rivard Report business member, as is Lake Flato. For a full list of supporters, click here. 

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Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard, co-founder of the San Antonio Report, is now a freelance journalist.