The San Diego Sun is just over one month old. It’s far too early to celebrate anything. This progress update, however, is cathartic for me and hopefully engaging for you.
I’m both benchmarking myself and looking for insight from readers.
This hyperlocal neighborhood news site—funded by Facebook’s Bulletin program for independent journalists—focuses on downtown San Diego. It’ll also occasionally branch out of 92101 for stories that affect the greater community.
In September, The Sun launched two ongoing series intended to introduce people and places associated with downtown.
Future Q&As will include a diverse array of downtown individuals and the neighborhoods they live in.
“The Streets of San Diego” offer a road-by-road, geographic introduction to the downtown core. The series kicked off with Harbor Drive.
We'll explore the Fifth Avenue entertainment district, as well as venture down some of the seedier streets in East Village.
In addition to service stories, I’m committed to doing in-depth stories about downtown issues and concerns—especially homelessness.
Those stories take a little longer to research, and are in progress.
Subsequent waves of locally focused writers included me and dozens of other independent journalists all over the country.
Quickly, this group of far-flung writers formed a community. Two dozen of us are enrolled together in a Zoom version of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s Entrepreneurial Journalism Creator’s Program.
The program is overseen by The City University of New York.
On a weekly basis we meet with educators and experienced entrepreneurs who have figured out how to make a living by writing about niche coverage areas.
We’re learning how to serve a community with directed news, how to grow an audience and eventually create a paid-subscription-based newsletter.
I don’t love Zoom meetings. I didn't miss taking classes. But this experience is exhilarating. The program is a solution aimed at the problem of disappearing local journalism.
Note: Currently everything on the San Diego Sun—which exists on the internet separate from Facebook—is free.
In the foreseeable future, free content will still be available but there will be a firewall for paid subscribers.
What will that include and entail? Please stay tuned and/or make suggestions. What would you pay to read?
For now, you’re invited to join the community. I’m enjoying responding to comments, and trying to stay on top of moderating trolls.
You can post kudos or criticisms on Facebook (and especially in the comment section of stories on The Sun). Keep away from profanity and hate-speech and you’re invited to discuss anything related to living in downtown San Diego.
The story ideas you send me do get read—and a couple pieces recommended by readers have already appeared or are in the works.
I can’t wait to see where things stand at our next benchmark. SDSun
[Cover photo: Craig Saewong/Getty Images]
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