Early in January, we began quietly posting daily news online. Now that we’ve established a sort of rhythm and consistency, we’re here to announce our next steps and vision for the future. For months, we’ve been meeting and reaching out to donors and readers, and through these conversations some themes began to emerge: a desire for hyperlocality, and an appreciation of deep, long-form journalism.
Moving forward, The Advocate will operate within two realms — providing standard daily news online, as well as a polished, well-curated bi-monthly print edition. A mix of feedback from the community and our own values has made it clear that the best way to serve our community is by not only breaking the news, but by monitoring and analyzing it holistically, so we might be able to anticipate what’s around the corner, and better understand the intersectionality of issues and interests within our community.
Daily News Coverage Evolves
Since realigning a small number of our staff to offer wider coverage of day-to-day happenings, our story count has probably tripled in the last two months and our web traffic has increased exponentially.
Soon we will seek new hires to help this along. There are ample studies telling us that readers don’t need paper for shorter beat-reporting pieces, but still very much prefer paper for longer-form, deep-dive pieces.
Our daily news coverage is envisioned as an online product, with our deeper work remaining in print and online. You will start to notice some rearrangement on our website too. Our events calendar has more than doubled in size since October, and the weekly version will still be available online as it always has been, but we will also begin to offer a daily version, and readers will soon have the option of an emailed daily newsletter, highlighting stories, events, and other happenings.
Deep, Bi-Monthly Print
Slated for the first and third Thursday of each month, our print issue will feature deeper and longer stories, akin to recent works such as the Mac Dunn Forest edition or the Oregon Hate Groups exposé. Our readers have shown appreciation for our uptick in serious material, which we intend to keep producing. Our next issue will publish April 18.
We are back to our standard 16 pages and may increase that count in the future. We are open to someday going back to a weekly schedule, but have no current plan to do so.
Our Storytelling Nights continue to grow and bring together a diverse demographic where the experiences of Corvallisites are heard and appreciated. Our CitySpeak events have seen some of our largest turnouts. We plan to restart this series, possibly weekly, and possibly rebranded as News Pubs. Our goal is to offer weekly events, though we will generally hiatus most of them over July, August, and December of each year.
We will continue to prioritize events that encourage a diversity of participants and civility among Corvallisites that may not always agree.
We will continue fundraising and improving our platforms. At some point, certain types of content may require a subscription. We will also start accepting a decidedly limited number of local online ads, intentionally migrating clients that would best benefit, while prioritizing our readers’ experience in the process.
We will likely have another fundraiser in May.
Things Will Go Wrong
Please be understanding of our staff. Almost every process we’ve built is changing. Daily stories turn around faster than at a weekly, and deeper print pieces require new kinds of attention and longer gestation periods.
This week is no exception. As you can see, we’re printing our usual single week calendar instead of a two-week version. In the future, we will produce a two-week print version along with weekly and daily online versions.
What Won’t Change
Advocacy. Our singular purpose has always been to advocate for all in our community so that Corvallis can aspire to be the best it can be. As we make decisions, we will always ask: what can we change, how can we make things better, and most importantly, who can we help?
Change is Good
We believe in the power of fact finding and storytelling. When reporters coalesce hours of research with wordsmithing so that readers can understand a story in just a few minutes, it can empower a community to make choices from a place of understanding. We think this is imperative in a progressive, democratic society, and we are excited to embark on this journey into standard news and it’s new becoming.