Big news: We’re growing our paid writing (and keeping volunteer writing too) – Greater Greater Washington

Hands typing on a laptop stock photo from fizkes/Shutterstock.

Greater Greater Washington started out as an entirely volunteer project and has gradually evolved into an organization with, now, six full-time staff members. Most of our articles remain written by volunteer community members, but we’ve started adding some paid writing too, and now are excited to announce a chance to significantly expand that.

We’re still a volunteer driven organization, and that’s not going to change. A big part of GGWash is about building this community of urbanists, educating people about issues, and helping people find ways to get more involved civically. Members of our community have a broad knowledge and experience about what’s going on in different parts of the region. Providing a platform for this community to share and publish thoughts is one of GGWash’s core reasons to exist.

We have many volunteer contributors who write articles about what matters to them. We have four volunteer committees, which govern our content, advocacy, election endorsements, and community events.

However, we also want to support members of our community, and others, in making a living as journalists. Professional reporters fill an important role in addition to community journalism. We want to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the journalistic profession.

Also, relying on community members inevitably means we have strengths in some areas and holes in others. In particular, professional office workers, grad students, or retirees are more likely able to find the time to write an article on a volunteer basis. Some parts of the region have more of those and some less, but we want to span the entire region. We also want to be talking about the life experiences of people of low incomes who can’t afford to write their stories (or lack the education level to feel comfortable doing that).

We started down this road with our Urbanist Journalism Fellowship, sponsored by the Island Press Urban Resilience Project and Meyer Foundation. This let us pay budding journalists from under-represented demographic groups, in cohorts of two people each in the fall and spring, to learn about urbanism, create content, and build clips for their careers.

What’s happening now

We’re now able to start up four ongoing, paid “beats”:

  • Transportation urgency and equity in the Washington area
  • The evolution of Tysons into a city
  • Maryland statewide and Baltimore transportation
  • Virginia statewide and Richmond transportation

We’ve hired George Jordan as a full-time correspondent and editor. George will be covering the Washington transportation urgency/equity beat and Tysons. He’s already started writing about how transportation inaction affects people in communities east of the Anacostia River and is working on articles about late-night workers affected by reduced Metro hours. Starting in June, he’ll be getting to know the ways Tysons is evolving and all that’s still to be done.

For the Maryland/Baltimore and Virginia/Richmond beats, we’re looking to hire freelance correspondents. If that’s you or anyone you know, take a look at the job description and apply!

In addition to writing, George will be helping us edit the site. Keeping you all supplied with four articles and Breakfast Links every day is a big task, along with hiring, training, and supporting our fellows, correspondents, volunteers, and more. Julie Strupp has done amazing work, but it’s more than one job, and this will let us add some of George’s time to this.

We still need your support to keep this going. We are able to add George partly with the support of above sponsors but also our GGWash Neighborhood members, events, advertising, and more. We still have to hit our annual goals for this revenue, and we’re on a reasonable track, but there’s a ways to go.

Revenues from “blog business model” sources, year to date.

Revenues to date versus 2019 budgeted amounts for “blog business model” sources.

If you’re not yet a member, can you join today? Or, if you’re with a company that might be interested in advertising, sponsoring an event, publicizing an event or job postings, contact Jane Green.

Thanks to our sponsors

The new “beats” are possible thanks to grants from the Greater Washington Partnership, Tysons Partnership, and Uber, as well as other corporate sponsors, advertisers, and GGWash Neighborhood members like you. The sponsors do not control specific topics or approve articles before they run; our volunteer Editorial Board has authority over our content.

We’ve updated our page about how we work with corporate sponsors. This policy (and the old version) said we’ll post quarterly to thank, and disclose, our sponsors (which are also always listed on the Our Supporters page). Thank you very much to these new corporate and foundation supporters so far in 2019, in addition to the ones above:

If you want to understand more about our budget, here’s our 2019 information.

Questions? Pose them in the comments or shoot me an email using the envelope icon in my bio below.

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