The past two weeks have been a trying time for Mendocino County and through it we’ve provided you with the best, most accurate news we can. News no longer follows a print cycle, we know you want info as it happens, delivered straight to your phone. The rest of the world gets that, why shouldn’t Mendo? That’s why we started The Mendocino Voice. Last week alone we provided around 400,000 people with news on the Redwood Fire, with only two reporters!
A lot of you just discovered us through our fire coverage, so if you want to know more about what we’ve been doing for the last year scroll down. Right now we want to talk about the future, and how we can turn this into an everyday utility for all of Mendocino.
Last week we proved that Mendo can have a fast, accurate, online, locally owned and accountable (not corporate) news source. But now we need to return to our side-jobs, to pay the bills — unless we get your help. We want to make this a sustainable community resource, AND expand our coverage. If you’re tired of the news you’ve been getting, here’s the opportunity to make the switch. If everyone who liked us on Facebook subscribed for just $3 a month we could hire four reporters, and build out our tech, even create an app.
So we’re asking you to sign up. Follow this link to our Patreon page where you can subscribed for $3 a month, get special features, and help build a community news service for all of Mendocino.
Now if you want to know more:
We started The Mendocino Voice (mendovoice.com) a year ago to provide the news coverage we think Mendocino County deserves — everything from fires, to the county budget, to cannabis regulations and community events. You can read more about us here, and learn other ways to support us here.
This week, we were the first to report on the fires, covered their spread around the county, and provided essential updates and video with only two people, while working jobs on the side, with hundreds of thousands of readers relying on our coverage. But we want to be able keep it up, and expand! We’d like to bring you articles about how Mendocino will rebuild, along with local government, culture, cannabis and more – with videos, maps, Spanish translation, in-depth articles, and breaking news for free — but we need your help to make it happen.
Here’s some of our reporting from the past year, in case you missed it: a county supervisor’s arrest and resignation, cannabis raids lead to changes in county regs, why it takes so long to count Mendo’s ballots, a mysterious crack in the Willits Bypass, flooding at the controversial asphalt plant, the Sheriff’s response to assisting with mental health services, interviews with legislators, opening the homeless shelter, sheriff’s request funds from the DEA, the women’s marches,Wailaki classes, columnists, and much more.
We rely on community to support to keep going — subscriptions, one-time payments, and advertisements are what pay our bills. If everyone who follows us on Facebook subscribed for $3/month — the cost of a fancy coffee — we could pay four or five top notch reporters to bring you fast, quality, daily coverage from around the county, plus improve our website to bring you things like fire maps, real-time scanner updates, investigative reporting, and more. We don’t want to put up a paywall, and we understand not everyone can afford to give monthly, but even the smallest payment makes a big difference.
The funny truth is that news doesn’t have to be expensive. Traditionally reporters don’t make the kind of money that lawyers or contractors do, but a huge amount of the cost of news has traditionally been tied up in printing and distributing physical papers. The internet does away with all that, making it much cheaper to fully staff a newspaper with experienced reporters and editors. At the Mendo Voice we’ve figured out how cut costs, and make efficiencies across the board, to deliver you the best value for your subscription.
We’ve got lots of plans to expand, but we are looking for people who want to play a bigger role in building a newsletter. If you’re interested in investing, or know someone who is, we’d love to talk about our business plan with you. Get in touch at [email protected].
We want to innovate how people get their news, and don’t think that rural areas need to be stuck in the past in terms of how we get our news and interact with information. Most of us have smartphones, and you’re probably reading this on Facebook. If we can meet our subscription goals we’ll be able build a better website and smartphone app, get the news out to our readers quicker. This includes tools like traffic and fire “scrapers,” which would allow us to provide our readers with real-time updates on road closures and public safety alerts even when our reporters are sleeping. You can check out our beta version of a California Highway Patrol scraper here and see the traffic incidents for the past day.
We’ve got lots of ideas like that, which don’t cost a whole lot, but we need to raise money up front. We also would love to get a better camera (and drone!) to bring you more video of life in Mendocino. During the fire a lot of people turned to our livestreams of press conferences for information. Imagine what those videos would’ve looked like with proper lenses and mics.
Our staff previously worked at other newspapers in the county, but we wanted to provide an locally-owned independent news source that provides news that’s important to our community. Learn more about us here. We’re also a member of the Local Independent Online News Publishers. You can read a little bit more about why we think independent and locally owned news is so important here.
Kate B Maxwell, Publisher
A.F. Baumann, Managing Editor