Funding The Vancouver Observer, A How-To Guide
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VanCity's John Chow was the first person to hit the contribute button on the front page of our website, follow the link, and sign on for a $20 monthly credit card withdrawal from his account to the Vancouver Observer through PayPal. Of all the stuff that's happened in the last week, and there's been some incredible stuff (please see below), this was perhaps the most meaningful thing of all. If John Chow's generous action could be repeated only 499 times in the next month, we would reach our goal of achieving the funding we need. We would easily reach it. We would have our funding from the most trustworthy source we could possible get it from: our readers.
Our content is free. So what would you get for endowing VO with $20 a month?
1. We're creating a page to list our Community of Subscribers with links to their businesses and small descriptions about who they are.
2. We will be holding special events for subscribers only. Everything from concerts to meetings with interesting people to talks with our staff. We will seek your input.
3. We will be offering you free tickets to events around town.
4. Other bonuses and benefits. As we get them, we will pass them on to you.
5. More than any of that: you will ensure that VO can continue to provide vibrant local coverage. You'll be endowing a highly qualified reporter to dig deeply into issues that affect you. You'll be endowing editors to empower local bloggers to do stronger reporting and writing as they cover local issues. Obama said last week that it's time for bloggers to "get out of their pajamas." He was asking bloggers to get more serious about their writing and politics. You can help this process in Vancouver through your contribution to the Vancouver Observer today.
Twenty dollars a month. It's really such a small amount for so much value to the community and our society. $240 a year from each of our newsletter subscribers and we will have reached our goal of funding the Vancouver Observer through reader subscriptions, following in the tradition of America's National Public Radio. From there, we can continue to build our advertising revenue with integrity and without being beholden to any advertiser's commercial interests. Support the Vancouver Observer with a small but ongoing financial contribution by clicking here.
And if you want to make a large contribution, all the better. Click here, too.
Now, about all the incredible stuff that's happened:
In our first two weeks on open source software, our unique visits have quadrupled and our page views have increased exponentially. This came after we relaunched the website, put out a print edition and threw a party for a couple of hundred people. I appeared on CKNW's morning news with Jill Bennett to talk about the relaunch and print edition.
Two days after the party, I got a call from the Oprah Winfrey Show. A producer had read a story, The Box in the Closet, on the Vancouver Observer by writer Jayne Doxtater and was eager to feature Jayne on a show. "You're doing such unusually interesting and edgy stories," Teri Mitchell, of told me. "Let's stay in touch. I love your site." Stay posted for news on Jayne's progress with Oprah. They are videotaping her this week as a preliminary step and we'll see if she actually gets on the show. I say to Jayne, whatever happens, what an affirmation of the popular appeal of your story. It's a huge affirmation for the Vancouver Observer as well.
Meanwhile, Just Between Us blogger Alfred DePew was contacted by CBC, because a CBC producer read a story he wrote and wanted to do a feature on the subject, Craig Addy, pianist. MegaBytes blogger Terry Lavendar got a call from the Vancouver Sun's technology reporter. She complimented him on his story about video game creators in Vancouver's unusual efforts to use technology to help people and said she wanted to feature one of his subjects. She asked for the contact, which he graciously provided. Megaphone Magazine asked me to contribute their "celebrity" editorial and I wrote about my hopes for the Olympics. VO's Olympics Retort columnist Chris Shaw launched a lawsuit against the International Olympics Committee for violating Canadian Free Speech rights, with the BCCLA representing him, and VO broke the story first. Joseph Planta interviewed me about the media landscape in Vancouver for a podcast and it's posted on his site Commentary.
What makes us different from the other publications in town?
We provide many more stories than any of our local competitors.
All day, every day.
Our stories are better written, better reported, and original. If we publish a news release, we call it a news release. We don't put a reporter's byline on it and slap it on the front page as if we created it, like our competitors do.
With more than 50 contributors, we get deeply into our city's life.