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Key links:
Primary website:
voiceofsandiego.com
Primary Twitter:
@voiceofsandiego

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit online news organization that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting on civic issues.

The site was founded in 2005 by venture capitalist Buzz Woolley and veteran San Diego journalist Neil Morgan, funded by $355,000 of Woolley’s own money as a way to fill what they saw a gap in local government reporting.

Its annual budget is about $1 million, and it has about 10 newsroom employees, though it laid off four employees in December 2011. About 12 percent of the site’s revenues as of 2014 came from community and corporate sponsorships, with 45 percent coming from major donors such as Woolley, 28 percent from foundations (including the Knight Foundation), and 15 percent from individual donors through a membership program. As of September 2009, Woolley had provided the site with $1.3 million of the total $3.5 million in donations over five years. Voice of San Diego also makes some money from syndicating its content and is seeking to grow its membership model. In 2014, it received a $1.2 million joint grant with MinnPost from the Knight Foundation to improve attraction and retention of members.

Voice of San Diego has a relatively modest but steadily growing web audience, with just fewer than 100,000 unique visitors per month as of late 2009. The organization has won numerous journalism awards, and its investigations have forced several city leaders to step down.

The site was founded on the principle of civic engagement, and it has worked to encourage online discussion, making civic participation half of its two-part mission and hiring its first engagement editor in 2010.

Voice of San Diego also emphasizes explanatory journalism, producing regular “explainers” and factchecking features.

It launched a redesign in 2013 with an emphasis on multi-story narratives and social interaction among users.

Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis talks about the value of explainers:

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
June 12, 2017 / Shan Wang
Membership programs are paying off for news outlets — and so is helping them set up their programs — If you want readers to donate, you have to ask — often. It sounds obvious, but it’s a strategy many news organizations have been forced to become more comfortable with, and one that takes a lot of resources to re...
June 1, 2017 / Shan Wang
Billionaire-supported but looking to expand its coverage, The Intercept also turns to reader memberships — Just because a newsroom is backed by a billionaire doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to diversify its funding. That fact has led to what some might consider an odd situation: The Intercept asking its readers for m...
March 13, 2017 / Shan Wang
Readers seem willing to pay for news sites centered around a place. What about sites built on an issue? — To tote bag, or not to tote bag? For more and more news organizations, reader-supported — member-supported — journalism has taken on new urgency. And starting a membership program from scratch opens up a host of ques...
March 9, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
Voice of San Diego’s “What We Stand For” is straightforward — and a bold stance against “objectivity” — “High-quality education for all children.” “Preparations for the long-term challenges of drought, energy supply, and climate change.” “Government transparency, open meetings and accountabili...
March 8, 2017 / Ken Doctor
Jim Brady: Events and experiences are key to connecting younger audiences to local news — At 49, Jim Brady has already led several digital lifetimes. As a young sports-turned-digital editor, he won early notice and acclaim in helping build the original washingtonpost.com. That site, it’s easy to forget,...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 1, 2014.
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