Thank you, Rivard Report readers. Yes, we are pausing today to look back just a bit, and we will start by thanking each and every one of you. We know you are the reason we are here and in the mood to celebrate. Happy birthday, Rivard Report. We are two years old today. Readers, writers, and partners please join us at The Brooklynite, 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for our celebration – complete with drink specials and the finest crowd a magazine could ask for.
It’s a wonderful life: A 60-year-old former newspaper editor can wander into a new business incubator and co-working space that its founders called Geekdom, partner with a group of young tech-savvy programmers and designers, and build something out of nothing. That’s a screen grab of the Rivard Report, a newborn blog at the start of 2012, long before Geekdom became a household word in San Antonio and the Weston Centre became a downtown hotbed of tech startup buzz and activity.
It was hard work getting here, but the future looks promising. We published our first story, about a resurgent Broadway, home to the Pearl and more drawing board projects than anyone could imagine back then, on Feb. 13, 2012. The site recorded about 5,000 page views that first month. Now there are single days when we get more readership than that. Google tells us we grew by 237% in 2013. We expect the same or better in 2014.
As readership grew, so grew our contributors. Even as my partner in life and the Rivard Report, Monika Maeckle, decamped for a full-time job at CPS Energy (she still contributes here), I was joined by Iris Dimmick, our talented and effervescent managing editor, and Jaime Solis, who came aboard late last year as our director of marketing. Our team of freelance contributors continues to expand, too.
What really sets us apart from other local media is you – hundreds of people from all walks of life in the community who have contributed their own stories, articles, and columns to the site. It’s that diversity of voices that gives the Rivard Report its identity. Readers inclined to contribute aren’t limited to posting a comment, although that happens every day. We give our readers the same prominence on the home page we give our own work. So what are you waiting for?
We are celebrating today with a new site redesign, the work of Firecat Studio in San Antonio. The new look and feel reflects the evolving identity of the Rivard Report. We ceased long ago being a simple blog.
The new site reflects our change and growth. It also reorganizes our growing archive of articles, photos and videos, and makes it much easier for readers to access content on any given subject, whether it’s our continuing series, “Where I Live,” about San Antonio’s neighborhoods and residential options, or our coverage of public education, local government or arts and culture in the urban core.
I might be a former newspaper editor, but I do not aspire to build a new newspaper. This city already has a daily newspaper. We see the Rivard Report as a new kind of local media: a community platform open to all reasoned viewpoints, committed to building a better San Antonio, an advocate for progressive growth and change in the urban core.
You can read more on the About Us page, but we aim to serve as the connection for everyone working to build a more vibrant San Antonio, anchored by a central city where the creative work opportunities and lifestyle options serve as a magnet to talented young workers and their families. Of course, we want a San Antonio where our own best and brightest, our children and yours, return some day to build their own futures. When we launched the Rivard Report two years ago, both our sons, Nicolas and Alexander, had left San Antonio for opportunities out of state. Frankly, we didn’t expect either one of them to change their minds and and find reason to come home. They loved San Antonio, but the future was elsewhere.
Fast forward to the present: A fast-changing city is bringing back more and more young people who never thought they’d move home. A few months ago, Alex moved home and became part of San Antonio’s brain gain as first measured by geographer James Russell in a report commissioned by the 80/20 Foundation and SA2020. Nicolas might work elsewhere for the next few years, but he, too, is seriously contemplating a return. Some of our best stories have come from returning sons and daughters, and from the pool of talented newcomers.
What lies ahead for the Rivard Report?
We, like San Antonio, are a work in progress. We hope our slowly growing advertising base allows us to deepen our journalistic commitment to story telling in San Antonio. Every day brings its disappointments in stories we miss, cannot get to immediately, or simply lack the resources to cover. The number of people and organizations doing incredible work in San Antonio is amazing, and all their stories deserve to be told. We want to tell them. Readers tell us they want more coverage of arts and culture, entertainment and nightlife, business and technology, neighborhood life, and anything and everything that connects San Antonio to the outside world. San Antonio once was a city on lists we didn’t want to be on, but nowadays we are more likely to appear high on a list of cities on the rise. The Rivard Report wants to be right in the middle of that kind of change, and we want you with us.
We invite you to tell us what you like or dislike about the site redesign. It’s an evolving medium and we will continue to smooth out details daily. Tell us what kind of stories you want to read that you aren’t finding here. And by all means, consider the possibility of telling your own story on the Rivard Report. Help us make our third year one to celebrate someday.
*Featured/top photo A?