There are a lot of exciting developments here at Crosscut, so I'm happy to bring you up to date. And I'd like you to think about becoming a part of this interesting venture in community-based, member-supported journalism.
Crosscut Public Media, the publisher of Crosscut.com, recently received its tax-exempt status from the IRS, so we are now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. (Earlier, Crosscut was published by a for-profit company, Crosscut LLC, which has gone out of business after donating all its assets to the new nonprofit.) Also recently, we received some major early support in the form of a $100,000 gift for this project to the Seattle Foundation, serving as our fiscal sponsor at the time, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This key lead gift, along with $50,000 of funding from generous individuals, is meant to launch Crosscut's new mission of providing online local journalism in the public interest, and to build Crosscut's capacity and sustainability. The next step is our first Charter Membership Drive, beginning this month, and I hope you will consider becoming an annual member.
This generous vote of confidence in Crosscut's new nonprofit model has enabled us to take several important steps forward. One is hiring a new deputy editor, Mark Matassa, a respected local political writer and editor who has worked in those capacities at The Seattle Times, The P-I and The Los Angeles Times. Way early in the Web curve, Mark and some others started a local news aggregator in 1999, called PersonalReader.com. He's a real pro, with deep knowledge of this town and its writers. Make sure you include him in your emails to us with story ideas, tips, and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, we have just hired a new executive director, Jill Mogen, most recently publisher of Seattle Homes & Lifestyles, a quality local magazine, and before that ad director at Eastsideweek and Seattle Weekly, where we were colleagues. Jill will be in charge of the non-editorial sides of Crosscut, including ad sales, membership, marketing, and fundraising. Like Mark, Jill knows this town and local publishing very well. She also has a law degree, and has been very active in local philanthropic causes including serving on ACT's board. She's at email@example.com.
We have also hired a new office and operations manager, Marilyn Hoe, who was my colleague for many years at Town Hall and in other civic ventures. At Town Hall, Marilyn coordinated civic and arts events and was in charge of volunteers as well as community outreach to the nearby First Hill neighborhood. She'll bring that welcoming spirit to Crosscut. You reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late September we relocated from downtown to our very own little building on Cedar Street at the north end of Belltown. We've tripled our space, and find ourselves happily in the midst of a media neighborhood, close to KPLU, KIRO, KOMO, and KCTS. The new space gives us room to staff up and to accommodate more volunteers and interns. Drop me an email if you want to volunteer or otherwise help the cause.
All these new developments represent a kind of relaunch of Crosscut.com, a news site that began in April 2007. For the first year and some, we tried to build a business based on advertising income alone, plus investment capital to get us going. We soon found lots of good writers out there, as well as helpful models in other cities to emulate. Crosscut owes its early success to its founding editor, Chuck Taylor, our first business and marketing manager, Yazmin Mehdi, and our technology whiz, Trevor Smith, who built the site.
In the summer of 2008, I began to suspect that an advertising-only model for revenue was not going to support high-quality journalism. The migration of advertising to the Web had slowed and the rates were staying low. The board weighed further investment against other models, notably the public-broadcast, member-supported model. We engaged Mike Crystal, my longtime colleague as publisher of Seattle Weekly, to look into the nonprofit model, noting encouraging examples in other cities (notably Minneapolis, San Diego, St. Louis, Chicago, Texas, and New Haven, Conn. and soon to be in Chicago and the Bay Area). Late last year, the board and owners voted to shift to this new model, and the owners of Crosscut LLC generously donated all assets of the company to the newly formed Washington state nonprofit corporation, Crosscut Public Media.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!