Three years ago, I set out to create a new kind of local journalism. I envisioned a community news organization that told relevant stories in relevant ways.
At its best, it was beyond what I hoped for. The content connected people with the local ideas and actionable information during unanticipated times.
Through live community storytelling, people connected with their Raleigh neighbors on deeper levels despite a national culture of divisiveness.
So much of that is due to the life that this community gave to Raleigh Convergence.
And yet, I’ve realized that it’s time to close this chapter of community journalism.
- The last day of content will be April 1 and the last newsletter will be March 31.
In short, it’s no longer sustainable for me, financially or operationally. Now with two kids, the math doesn’t work for the time or money.
Raleigh Convergence is ending on a good note that I hope maintains the trust built along the way. April would be the third anniversary of launch, and I’m able to close this chapter responsibly, without taking on annual costs of doing media business. Annual members can request to be refunded for the remainder of the year that Raleigh Convergence won’t be publishing. Any unused advertising packages will be refunded. Those folks have been contacted.
Despite this avenue’s end, I’m a local news optimist. A friend reminded me of a vision I shared with INDY Week for their predictions for local media in 2040 (scroll to my byline). I still believe in that vision, though the industry has been tumultuous enough that my then-examples have shifted.
I believe that strong local journalism that’s relevant, inspires action and connects communities is possible. I believe that a brighter future includes more equitable representation and ownership of local journalism organizations. I believe that the future includes collaborations, rather than competition, among media companies that benefits more North Carolinians.
So what’s next? I know what I’m working toward, even though the next steps for me aren’t entirely clear.
I’ll take with me the accomplishments made possible by a convergence of community:
- Four neighbors created guides to Raleigh, Southeast Raleigh, Knightdale and Cary, defining as community ambassadors what newcomers should know. This grant-funded New Neighbor Project also reached people – despite 2020 – through socially distanced scavenger hunts and virtual trivia nights.
- Eight times, your neighbors shared true, first person stories through Converging Stories. Some events in 2020 and 2021 were in person, others virtual, many both.
- Thanks to your contributions to the COVID Local News Fund and a fiscal sponsor, Raleigh Convergence was able to commission journalism by talented neighbors, journalist Courtney Napier (on why Southeast Raleigh saw high COVID cases) and photographer Keenan Hairston (pandemic portraits, looking to what’s next).
- Your input guided the focus on local climate change and sustainability coverage, from the local plan to questions about composting for a virtual event.
- Your ideas for 2022 gave me hope for the future.
This was always about the community in community journalism, and I’m grateful for the privilege to reach you.
Before I close this chapter, I’m planning to share some of the highlights of these last three years of Raleigh Convergence. If there’s something that you remember, I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com.