Update, We have decided that we need to rush the legal affairs, to make sure they happen THIS YEAR. So we have removed the donate button. To any who donated, we thank you. To any who supported us, we thank you.
Dec 4, 2017 (San Diego) “We love what you do…” You have no idea how many time I have been told this in the field. Activists, citizens, people concerned with both local and national issues have told us this many times.
Unfortunately, “I love what you do,” does not pay the bills.
We posted we were close to making that final decision on Friday. And we were correct. For the most part, people do not support media they consume. Thank you to the two of you who did step to the plate. Truly, thank you.
When we started this project, we did not expect to make much money on it. We were looking forward to making enough to pay the business licenses and the website, maybe a little for gas and perhaps an oil change or two, or perhaps a dinner at a local greasy spoon. Trust me we are not making even that much.
The City of San Diego has a license that goes for $79 bucks, that is cheap compared to other cities, incidentally. That is covered for the coming year.
The website is $299, it is not covered. That is how far we are in the hole as it were.
The business fees for the state of California as a corporation are not covered either.
Literally, our most basic costs are not covered.
People tell me all the time, why is it that there are no independent media, but we love what you guys do. You cannot have it both ways. You either help support independent media, no longer us incidentally, or stop asking why we do not have independent media.
We also have noticed a few things. I know why major media does not touch certain stories. It is not because it is a huge conspiracy, or truly they are protecting the powerful. (Though in a few cases they might be.)
We have done a few stories on gentrification in this town. Those stories took months to research and put together. The traffic those stories received was relatively low. The same goes for articles on poverty, and also the cost of housing, which one would think would be a hot issue in this town. However, any wildfire, or traffic accident, or the bank robber arrested literally outside my window broke all kinds of traffic records on the website.
The axiom that if it bleeds it leads, is very true. People may not admit it, but they love that stuff and that brings a lot of traffic to any website. And even with those, at times we held off on reporting something until we had OFFICIAL confirmation. Why? I hate to start panics. My view was, better be late but accurate, than early and wrong.
I will grant you that some fires and they are thankfully a very small minority of the vast number of wildfires, are going to affect your life in very personal ways. 2003, 2007 and 2014 come to mind for large areas of the County. In smaller ways, the Border Fire (two people died) and the Shockey Fire, did affect smaller groups of people in significant ways. But for the most part, wildfires are not going to affect much. But those stories drive traffic to any website like crazy.
I know that people who are more often affected since they live in either rural areas or the urban-rural interface will likely disagree, but most fires affect a very small number of people, With climate change that will likely change, with far more devastating events occurring more often, but that is another story.
So when you ask why is it that CNN does not ask why we have mass shootings? First off, a lot more reporters than you think do know the answer as to why. But media mostly does not run those stories because they are notcommercially feasible. Also the traffic they get when they run them is very small, when compared to the resources they take to put together. Those who will read them either know the answer and want confirmation or the other side who wants to suppress any information on the subject. Just go to the Washington Post, and read the comment sections whenever they do dare to run those stories.
Now the traffic on the gory details, including the name of the perpetrator, like wildfires, drives a lot of traffic. So while in an ideal world people should stop running the names of these mass shooters, that won’t stop. It is literally not a good commercial move. And this is driven by you, the reader.
What commercial news stations are selling is eyes on screen. The same goes for either Adsense on Google or Wordadds on WordPress. Incidentally, we started running those adds to try to make up some of the income we needed. They pay so little, that it was not worth my time. And anytime you see adds on any media site, that is the reason. People are trying desperately to get some income. I doubt we will even get paid out for them. Over the course of two years they did not make much. I know people think otherwise, but no, not really.
When we started this project, we literally were hearing people complain day in and day out about the lack of coverage of their issues. Occupy San Diego comes to mind, so does Black Lives Matter, and organized labor, as well as housing advocates. We never expected to get rich. None gets rich in modern media, unless you work at the news desk of any of the majors, they literally can make seven-figure salaries. They are a very small minority of the media. On average reporters make five-figure salaries and local anchors might make all the way to low six-figure salaries, after decades on the job.
Camera crews make a lot less as well.
People do it for the love of it, not to get rich. But we are not going to continue almost running this as a charity and losing money we can ill afford. We believe in the concept of independent media. Like the rest of you, we know it is needed, but it cannot succeed in an environment when people do believe that just saying “we love what you do” will pay the bills. We are not yet in that Star Trek economy that would allow us to survive with kind intentions and words.
We will keep the site up for at least 15 days. That way, if you want to keep an article, grab it. By the end of the month, we are going to bring the site down. I am not going to pay to essentially keep an archive going. The only way we will reverse that decision, up until we file legal paperwork, is if enough donors come through to reverse that stark economic decision.
To the few, happy few, that supported us in more material ways than “we love what you do,” thank you. You did put your wallet where your beliefs are. As for us. I will continue to put my money where my mouth is, and will support independent media as I have always done. Projects I believe in, will get what I ask people to donate. ten bucks a year.
If one percent of you, who read and enjoy this publication did that, we would be able to pay the bills. and keep the lights on. It comes down to that stark math.
The staff of Reporting San Diego