This is Take Two of my Official Second Anniversary Blog, after scrapping what I wrote yesterday (which was the Phoenix’s “official” birthday, ha). For some reason, I’ve built this one up in my head – that on this date, I need to write something that will inspire you all to support local journalism and subscribe. My business will grow, more people will know what’s going on in Peachland – and The Phoenix will be the most-read news source here in town.
Yes, a super lofty expectation for a blog post that will be read by a small audience! And while leading with your expectations can end in disappointment (a lesson perhaps you’ve taken to heart too, during this pandemic), it’s another thing to know very clearly what you want to accomplish.
The Peachland Phoenix is named the way it is for a reason. I started The Phoenix because our town needs independent news – good journalism, really. Community news only works when you live where you write, and you’re directly involved and interested in what locals are doing. And yes, I’ll be totally honest with you: The Phoenix also exists because I was laid off (along with all local staff) from the Peachland View and I wasn’t done writing local news stories. Reporting and writing is something I really love to do – and I’m feeling fortunate because in two years, I have 250 people paying me to do that for them. I’ll keep going, as long as the support is there.
Obviously, I’m not the first reporter to go the independent route. Many others are creating “a better, more relevant and compelling journalism product that’s so good, communities will pay for it.” (That’s from someone I was lucky to meet before I launched. Erin Millar is cofounder and CEO of the Discourse, an outlet I really admire.)
My big hope is for those who do subscribe, you can tell how much I care about this town. I’m here to tell you about longtime / interesting / unusual Peachlanders. I’m here to promote your community event. I’m here to let you know what really happens in council – and I don’t want you to wait, so I’ll stay up til 3am writing so you can get it all in an email when you wake up Wednesday morning. Peachland is changing, and I really believe the more you know, the better off our town will be.
When you want to accomplish something – when you have a dream – you somehow find a way to keep going. There’s been some mega obstacles (50,000+ fake signups, a wrecked laptop), some annoyances (getting kicked off local Facebook groups, getting asked to change quotes – and losing subscribers when I refused, being told I sensationalize my work, being referred to as something a male reporter wouldn’t be referred to)…and I wouldn’t change those experiences because they’ve solidified my aim: Yes, I do want to be the most-read news source in town. And there’s a few ways you can help, whether you’d like to sign up for a subscription, follow or like my Insta and Facebook (leave a review if you like!) – and just spread the word.
A little less than a year ago, I got an email that meant a lot. It’s from the former owner of the Peachland View. She started that paper and for her, focussing on excellent journalism and keeping the community informed, made it her pride and joy.
“I was sad to see what it turned into and continues to have no real content that matters to the amazing citizens. By fluke, I came across your website and it brought such a smile to my face that your integrity and passion is bringing to these people exactly what they want. I wish you all the best on your journey, as I’m sure it will be tough. I hope you can prevail.”
I’m determined to do that, and every day, I work on being the news source our town needs. It’s a slow grow, but it’s happening. Many are done with the mass media and reading the same stories amplified throughout the Valley. I know I’m kind of tired. There’s still good reporters out there, but journalism went corporate long ago, and there’s very little time and space for reporters to do the real work – hitting pavement, researching & writing in-depth stories that matter. That’s where I come in. No ads. No government contributions. Just 100% subscriber-supported local content from someone who lives here too.
So, I’m here for you Peachland. Check out my website, sign up (just finished some improvements & it’s easier than ever!) – and you can see what my subscribers have been talking about.
As one of them told me yesterday: “We flip through the View. But we read The Phoenix.”