Monday morning inside the Rivard Report conference room: I am sitting with Iris Dimmick, our managing editor, and Wendy Cook, a part-time editor who returned to San Antonio after a career as a former Washington Post and Associated Press editor. We are meeting with Bekah McNeel, our education reporter.
We all agree we could easily use a second full-time education reporter to let the prolific Bekah catch her breath and still meet the ever-growing community appetite for more education coverage. That’s not going to happen just yet, but Bekah leaves with a well-deserved raise. We turn to a stack of applications for two new editorial positions: a community and public health reporter and an arts and culture reporter.
Strong candidates from near and far have applied, and editors quickly agree on seven candidates selected for in-person interviews. More news on that front soon.
By day’s end members of the Rivard Report‘s editorial and business staffs are at Frank in Southtown, raising a glass to toast our fifth anniversary of publication. What began as a two-person blog launched by Monika Maeckle, my wife, and I on Feb. 13, 2012, has grown into a nonprofit website that attracts a few hundred thousand readers each month, an audience that continues to grow as our journalism grows with it.
Membership and philanthropic support is growing, too, and has been since the day we became a nonprofit 501(c)(3) at the close of 2015. If you’re unaware of that growth, take a minute to scroll through the increasing number of individual and business supporters who are making our work possible.
We hope you will use the occasion of our fifth anniversary and our nonprofit status, which makes your contribution tax-deductible, to join as a member. We have many donors who contribute $5 or $10 a month on a sustaining basis, as well as many others who have the resources to support us at higher levels.
Every member counts.
There are now 115 state and urban nonprofit news sites in the country, all organized under the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Nonprofit News. Many of them were started by journalists who left newspapers or magazines and are finding a new way to deliver news, information and community service.
No single entity will replace the talent-rich newsrooms that served cities like San Antonio in the heyday of U.S. newspapers, but those days are gone for good, and people no longer look for single sources of news. Readers get local, national and international, business, sports, and arts and cultural news from a myriad choice of specialty websites. The general interest exceptions with deep offerings – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times – can be counted on one hand.
With a staff of 12 that we hope eventually grows to 20 people, we are on track or ahead of plan to build what we believe will be an enduring, community-centered source of credible news and commentary that lives on longer than the span of my career as an active journalist.
Many of you have attended Rivard Report events, such as the Mayoral Town Hall Debate that took place at the Pearl Stable last week. Members make it possible for us to organize and host such gatherings where we mix social networking with public policy forums. We have held such events in just about every corner of the city, from Alamo Ranch in the far northwest to Alamo Brewery on the near-Eastside. There will be many more such opportunities and we hope you will sign up and attend one.
How did we get from Feb. 13, 2012, to Feb. 13, 2017? There are simply too many people to thank, but they know who they are, and they know we will never forget their financial support or their encouragement, advice and helping hands. We do have an outstanding board of directors that guided us into the nonprofit world and lent instant credibility to our cause. And we have our first two editorial employees, Managing Editor Iris Dimmick, and Photo Editor Scott Ball, who have been here since our early years, leading our growing editorial team.
I’ll wish all of our readers a Happy Valentine’s Day, and suggest that one way to make the occasion a truly memorable one is to take a few minutes now and become a member of the Rivard Report.