The Monterey Bay Partisan is two weeks old now, so I thought some loyal readers might like an update.
With some 200 hits on a good day, traffic has been better than expected, considering that all the writing so far has been mine, a fact that can try even my patience. Technical assistance has been provided thus far by my lovely family and my lovely friend Paul Skolnick. Some of you Fresno types may remember from his Channel 30 days.
YOU TOO CAN BE A BIGSHOT WRITER
Which takes me to Appeal No. 1. I thought I had made it clear early on that I am looking for others to share the writing. After you have liked us on Facebook, after you have hit the share button and gone to the site itself to hit the subscribe button, your work is not done.
You need to leave some comments at the end of the pieces your read, AND THEN WRITE YOUR OWN DARNED PIECE. Write about the topics covered here or write about something entirely different. You can write about the potholes on your street or man’s inhumanity to man, especially local man’s inhumanity to local man. Pitch your project or poke holes in someone else’s. Write about Cal Am! Write about the upcoming election! Write about how that darned Monterey County Weekly hasn’t written a word about the Monterey Bay Partisan. I can’t promise you I’ll put everything on the website, but I will tend to err on the side of putting it out there.
Sure, we’re small now, but most great, world-changing ideas started out small. You may wonder why you would write something for a blog with a three-figure circulation. I’ll tell you why. Unless you’re Charles Krauthammer, your writing isn’t getting much play in the local dailies and weeklies. This isn’t supposed to be just Royal Calkins’ blog. It’s supposed to be a community blog. Let’s get this party started. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org
CALLING ALL ANGELS
Which takes me to Appeal No. 2. I am doing this out of passion for journalism and to fill some gaps in the local news and opinion scene (do I have to spell everything out?). I’m not trying to make a living out of it. I’ve got other things to do that actually make me a little money. But, and let me be absolutely clear about this, I COULD USE A LITTLE HELP HERE.
Some wonderful folks approached me after my much-celebrated departure from the Monterey Herald in February and offered to help me launch a site something like this (actually they were thinking bigger and better, but here we are.) A little financial help was extended, accepted, greatly appreciated and depleted before I decided to try to get this moving without the complications that committees can create.
I am finding now that despite that aforementioned passion, expenses can be the enemy of resolve. There are fees for the website host, for the domain name, for this and for that. I hope eventually to be able to pay for some of the contributions that will be prompted by Appeal No. 1. And now some of my wiser friends are telling me that libel insurance is a must if this site is to be as vigorous as the community deserves. And then there’s Freelance Guild dues and that kid in college, etc., etc.
So here’s the plan. I am getting the Monterey Bay Partisan incorporated as a non-profit, and then I will ruthlessly seek out those among you whose extra money is just sitting around looking for something to do. The aim is to raise enough to support some actual journalism, some digging into the things that need digging into, instead of relying on mere opinionizing. Or is that opinionating? At the moment, for instance, I am working on a piece about some surprising security breaches at a local defense facility and a fraud aimed at seniors.
When newspapers started shrinking, one of the first casualties was investigative reporting. As newspapers morph into 24/7 news operations aiming to out-Twitter the competition, what passes for in-depth reporting of any kind will become a memory. I won’t say that blogs like this are the answer, but I don’t see many other candidates out there.
I bring this up now as something akin to market research. I’d like to get some sense of whether the idea of private sponsorships is practicable or not. If you think you might be interested in lending a financial hand, please give me a shout at email@example.com. I won’t spread your name around, but if and when I do line up sponsors, I would hope to acknowledge them on the website.
I don’t plan to sell ads. I know how much they can taint the editorial processes. (Actually, it is less of a factor than you might expect at most newspapers, but when it happens it creates a smell that is not quickly forgotten.)
So if you’ve got a few bucks, or a buncha bucks, that could use some exercise, you’ve found the place. Again, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can talk about it.
THAT DARNED SHOE
When my friend Paul and I put that profile of a pelican at the top of this page, it never occurred to us that anyone would see anything but a pelican profile. But we have learned the hard way that some people, and you know who you are, look at the pelican and see a high-heeled shoe. Take a look. You’ll see what I mean.
This high-heeled shoe instead of a pelican is not a good thing.Branding and marketing and all.
So look here soon for another change. Obviously, our budget doesn’t allow for any meaningful testing of designs or other factors, but I’m headed out to find something new for the top. Maybe I’ll find a pelican that doesn’t look like a shoe. I have reached out to some photographer friends, hoping they might share some iconic Monterey Bay images but I guess they’re busy trying to come up with sponsorship money instead.
With any luck, I’ll find a beautiful beach scene, or some perfectly photogenic otters. And if you see the otters and think one of them looks like, say, Joe Heston, please don’t tell me.