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Help Us Cover Downtown: blogdowntown Needs Your Support

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 24, 2008, at 02:41PM
Downtown at Night Eric Richardson [Flickr]

blogdowntown is about to turn four years old, and we need the help of readers like you to continue our mission of creating a conversation about life in Downtown Los Angeles.

Today we're kicking off our first pledge drive, beginning a push to shape blogdowntown into a community-supported voice for those who live and work Downtown.

That process really began back in September, when we announced the creation of verbdowntown, a non-profit parent for this site. We believe that online resources like blogdowntown can play an essential role in helping Downtown's stakeholders shape our neighborhood, and through verbdowntown we want to foster the growth of this site and the development of new resources.

2008 was a great year for blogdowntown. As of today, we've run 813 stories, about 45% more than in 2007. Most of those were original reporting about events and issues taking place around Downtown. Reader comments were up roughly 34% from a year ago.

Many more of you are reading this site now than were a year ago. Unique visitors were up 76% in 2008, as more people found blogdowntown content through searches and referrals.

In April we launched a major redesign, moving from a traditional blog look to a more magazine-style format designed to support the increasing flow of content.

Between April and August we covered Broadway-related trips to Portland, Seattle and San Diego, keeping Downtown up to date on what project leaders were learning from elsewhere. We have been the first and most comprehensive source for coverage of the Bringing Back Broadway project, the Downtown Streetcar, the Regional Connector and L.A. Live. More recently, just this month we kicked off Susana Benavidez's Kid-Friendly Downtown series, the start of a conversation on how to make Downtown work while raising a family.

We did all of this on a budget of zero. For four years, blogdowntown has been supported entirely out-of-pocket by those of us who put our time and effort into making it work. Why? Because we love doing it.

Now, though, it's time to move forward. Downtown is growing, and we need to grow with it. We want to continue being your source for Downtown news and issues, and we want to get better.

First, we want to make our pace sustainable. Somehow, keeping up to date with Downtown became a full-time job, but one without any income attached to it.

Second, we want to improve our technology resources. We want to add the capability to report using video and audio. Perhaps we'll even move the site out of my living room.

Third, we want to expand. One of our biggest projects for 2009 is a calendar for Downtown events. We believe that sites like that complement and tie into what we're doing with blogdowntown.

And in all of this, we want to create more opportunities for readers like you to be involved in shaping what we're doing. We want to meet more of you, and we want to make sure that we're on top of the issues that matter to Downtown.

As publisher of the site, I'm really excited about what 2009 will bring. I thank you all for reading the site in 2008, and I thank you in advance for your continued support of our mission.

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