Monika Maeckle

This week marks my last as a full-time collaborator for the Rivard Report. On Monday, I start a new gig as Director of Integrated Communications at CPS Energy.

As a cofounder of the Rivard Report, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in just 15 months. Since February 2012 we’ve published more than 600 posts by 150+ writers, generating more than 2,800 comments and a half a million page views.

We also won the Readers’ Choice Award for best local website from the San Antonio Current and have racked up four back-to-back record traffic months this year. In April we conducted a reader and advertiser survey that offered some much appreciated affirmation and smart advice going forward. Thanks to all for your support.

Rivard Report stats
Check out our stats–heck yeah, we’re proud.

When I left my last fulltime position as vice president of new media at Business Wire in 2011, I announced in my farewell post on the Businesswired blog that I would be “launching a strategic consulting and communications firm in 2012 with my talented former newspaper editor husband, Robert Rivard.”

True to my words, we launched The Arsenal Group, offering strategic media and communications consulting. Starting a hyper-local, daily news magazine was not part of the plan. Being part of startup business that launched in the early days of Geekdom has been a fantastic learning experience and adventure, perhaps the most interesting and challenging chapter in my long communications career. But working two full-time jobs is wearing. And: have you ever worked side-by-side with your spouse? ?

Rivard Report voted best local news website by San Antonio Current Readers in 2013

I wouldn’t trade this last year-and-a-half for anything. It has been fulfilling, mind expanding, and provided a hands-on advanced education in new media from both sides of the desk. But I won’t miss working 24/7 or the real possibility of blogging burnout.

Apart from making new friends of our merry band of collaborators, the most gratifying aspect of the process has been the amazing community conversation we have sparked in San Antonio.

Apparently the 207 of you who responded in detail to our reader/advertiser survey agree. When asked, “What do you like most about the Rivard Report?” 120 of you, or about 64%, said “the community conversation it provokes.” Then 116, about 62% of respondents, said you also appreciated “Our positive outlook on the city and its people.” Our community has embraced optimism with open arms – very refreshing.

Rivard Report contributors are amazing.
To all our contributors and collaborators: see you in the ‘hood! –Collage by Iris Dimmick

We live in an era of media experimentation as old business models crumble and new technologies redefine communications. The Rivard Report is part of that new world – a free, hyper-local community platform where progressive souls gather to exchange ideas and information, and where constructive criticism and thoughtful insights are shared. The engagement and comments are especially heartening. Mostly because you, our thoughtful, irrepressible readers care deeply about the topics addressed in these webpages, but also because we moderate all comments and reject all profane snark.

We should all be proud.

With that, I say: let’s keep it going. In our survey, 81% of you said you would support the Rivard Report as a nonprofit organization. The decision on which business model the Rivard Report embraces will be left to founder Robert Rivard, a/k/a Bob, our indispensable and talented managing editor, Iris Dimmick, and you, our community. I can’t wait to see what happens. Those of you who know me as a butterfly evangelist are well aware that I’m all about the ch- ch- ch-ch-changes.

A new chapter starts next week, as my daily involvement here comes to an end.  My main focus will be learning the energy business and working with the great team at CPS Energy, but I will continue to regularly read, occasionally write for, and always cheer the Rivard Report.

(Full disclosure: The Arsenal Group conducted a four-month review of CPS Energy communications for the utility starting in June 2012. This consulting work eventually led to CPS executives offering Maeckle her current job there. This disclosure was published Sept. 26, 2013 in response to an Express-News inquiry.)

Follow Monika Maeckle on Twitter @monikam or find her at the Texas Butterfly Ranch.

Full disclosure: The Arsenal Group conducted a four-month review of CPS Energy communications for the utility starting in June 2012. Monika Maeckle, a former member of the The Arsenal Group and wife of Robert Rivard, now works at CPS as its Director of Integrated Communications. This disclosure was published Sept. 26, 2013 in response to an Express-News inquiry.

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About the Rivard Report

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Monika Maeckle

San Antonio Report co-founder Monika Maeckle writes about pollinators, native plants, and the ecosystems that sustain them at the Texas Butterfly Ranch website. She is also the founder and director of...