When we started this newsletter in September 2021 with a grant from Substack, we thought we’d give it a go for a year.
The Substack funding ran out in 2022, which was a bummer, but we were so encouraged by our growing community of readers and listeners that we embarked on a second year. We’ve carried on because we feel strongly that the U.S.-Mexico border region deserves better, more in-depth coverage. This is especially so as billionaires manipulate social media platforms and hedge funds close vital news outlets and lay off reporters.
And here we are in September 2023 with more than 8,700 subscribers, and we are truly grateful for your support. We love engaging with our readers and learning from border communities up and down the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. To date, we’ve published more than 180 articles and podcasts on everything from smuggling myths on the border to former Arizona governor Doug Ducey’s shipping container wall.
In two years of running this newsletter, we’ve learned a lot. First, that it’s a lot of work for two people. There’s not only the writing and reporting but also the business and promotion side of things. As two longtime journalists, we know how to get the work done, but we scarcely have time to promote The Border Chronicle. So, it’s a bit of a catch-22. You can help us by sharing the newsletter with your friends and family.
We also have a reader referral program where you can receive a complimentary subscription based on the number of referrals you make. A big shout-out to readers Jenn Budd and Jim Marx, who are leading the charge in referrals. We appreciate it!
Now back to the tough bits. Currently, neither of us makes a living from The Border Chronicle, and we both have other jobs to support our families. This makes it harder to grow and expand The Border Chronicle because we’re too busy hustling at our other jobs. Which is why we’re asking you for help today. If you’re a free subscriber, please consider supporting us with a paid subscription. A subscription is just $6 a month or $60 a year. A deal! Since the beginning, we’ve had the goal of reaching 2,000 paid subscribers, which would allow us to make a living from the newsletter and pay Steev Hise, our podcast editor, and Pablo Morales, our text editor.
As you can see from our dashboard, we’ve still got a steep climb to reach our goal. People say they’re often surprised that it’s just the two of us publishing all these articles and podcasts. But it truly is just us. With your help, though, we’ll expand our operations. Your paid subscription will go directly toward hiring an audience development person—to help us grow our subscriber base—and to paying freelance reporters.
There are many ways you can support The Border Chronicle. For information on upgrading from free to paid, click here. You can also gift a paid subscription to friends and family, and if you’re an educator or part of an organization, you can sign up for a generously discounted group rate subscription.
If you’re feeling generous, you can sign up as a founding member for $125 a year, which comes with two additional paid subscriptions. Just send us the email addresses you want added, and we’ll sign them up. A paid subscription gives you access to our archives and discussion threads with invited experts.
And if you’re not ready yet for a paid subscription, you can donate to us via PayPal. In addition, the wonderful news nonprofit Homelands Productions has agreed to serve as our fiscal sponsor, so that we can accept grants.
That said, The Border Chronicle remains committed to making the newsletter accessible to everyone. If you’re unable to afford a paid subscription, let us know, and we’ll be happy to give you one with no questions asked.
Finally, we want to know more about you. Substack, the platform this newsletter runs on, gives us very little insight into our readers. Why do you subscribe to The Border Chronicle? What would you like to see more coverage of? We will soon be running a reader survey to hear more from you. Always feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com with any story ideas, comments. If you have questions about your subscription, send us an email. We lose many of our paid subscribers because their cards expire.
We love hearing from our readers. Substack now allows paid subscribers to leave a message for us, which has been wonderfully encouraging. Running a small newsletter can feel overwhelming and isolating at times, and some of the stories we cover can be emotionally tough. The kind words mean a lot, and they give us insight into why people read us. Here are a couple of our favorites:
“Your work is crucial, solid, and inspiring. It is very valuable as a researcher, activist, and human being. Thank you.”
“I have lived in Tucson off and on since the 1950’s and wish we could really celebrate the unique border communities and the delightful people who inhabit this richly diverse environment.”
Thanks for the messages, and please keep them coming. We love this community and learn so much from our readers and podcast listeners. With the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, it’s going to be a rough ride for our democracy. The border region will likely take the brunt of misinformation and authoritarian skulduggery. Let’s get through this next year with our democracy and communities intact. Together, we can do this!
Un abrazo desde Tucson,
Melissa & Todd
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