The Public Publisher: Moving in the right direction
by Greg Shaw
Crosscut office on Seattle's corner of 1st & Main
Thanks to you, Crosscut is returnng to positive territory. Readership is rising steadily and we've attracted substantial new financial support.
According to both Google and Woopra web metrics, Crosscut saw readership increase nearly 15 percent from Sept. to October. We also managed to raise $525,000 this fall.
Nearly 240 readers joined or renewed memberships during the fall drive. While this was fewer than our goal of 275 members, the average donation was well ahead of last year's average, which helped us come very close to our budgeted amount for the fall drive. We have another push at the end of this year.
In addition to the fall membership contributions, Crosscut also was awarded new grants from Connie and Steve Ballmer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, John Stanton and Terry Gillespie of the Aven Foundation, Tom Alberg, Jerry Grinstein and Bill Ruckelshaus. One hundred percent of our board contributed.
While this represents an important return of stability for our news organization, it does not yet mean we are out of the woods. Next year, 2013, will require about another half-million dollars in financial commitments in order to meet our budget to pay writers, editors, technology improvements, member engagement and community outreach. Fortunately, a growing list of potential donors coupled with growing readership give us hope for next year.
Ninety thousand visitors read Crosscut during the month of October. They found a number of new features this past month, including sports writer Art Thiel and his new "Two Minutes wtih Thiel" video presentation. They read new bylines, such as Caela McKeever, the young architect whose plans have been upended by a weak economy. We brought analysis of the turbulent Seattle media landscape with unique looks at the Seattle Weekly and the Seattle Times. Skip Berger's examination of Eastside politics set a high bar for political analysis in our region. And Floyd McKay's coverage of the coal port debate is helping to define the story.
This week we were able to introduce another new feature for readers, The Daily Troll, an afternoon summary of the region's news. We have noticed that readership spikes around mid-day and some experiments in posting new stories in the afternoon have shown that there is quite a lot of demand for new content later in the afternoon. We hope you enjoy it.
On Oct. 17th more than 100 community leaders gathered in Seattle to celebrate Crosscut, paying tribute to founder David Brewster and welcoming me as the new publisher.
Bill Gates, Sr. was a keynote that evening and spoke eloquently of his "deep concern" about the state of journalism today and the need for a quality, professional base of journalists to investigate, take time to analyze and expose things going on in our world.
"It is a vital, indispensible quality to have in the country, state, city in which you live, and I think this celebration, this encouragement, this support for Crosscut is relevant to [the cause of journalism] and I look forward to Crosscut continuing to contribute."