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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Hodgson’

The Future of Voice of San Diego

Since its launch in 2004, Voice of San Diego has been heralded as one of the great success stories in online, non-profit journalism. But this past December, the unexpected layoffs of popular reporters Emily Alpert and Adrian Florido and photographer Sam Hodgson due to financial problems at VoSD gave media watchers a shock. And it seems to have led to the realization at VoSD that the site’s model of fundraising is no longer working.

The San Diego Reader spoke with VoSD’s Scott Lewis about a massive shift that is currently underway at the non-profit .

“I’ll be frank,” Lewis says, “we’ve survived and thrived based on spontaneous acts of heroism in the past, and now we’re turning that into a more professional business model of prosperity and actual metrics and goals.”

He leans forward and relaxes visibly as the conversation moves on from the layoffs to the future of the organization. Though he’s still tight-lipped about details, he tells me that the future they’re trying to build “isn’t about readership, it’s about membership.”

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Voice of San Diego Lays Off Four

Although many things are going well for website Voice of San Diego, the organization still relies in part on grants from national foundations. Because the prognosis for that type of funding is not good, it has decided it must pare down its 2012 operating budget by $200,000.

As a result, the site announced today that it is letting go of neighborhood reporter Adrian Florido, education reporter Emily Alpert, photo editor Sam Hodgson and one (unnamed) other employee. CEO Scott Lewis and editor Andrew Donohue conclude their post with a no-nonsense assessment of the impact of today’s moves:

We’re not going to give you the hackneyed journalism line that we’ll “do more with less.” We are, however, taking this as an opportunity to go back to our roots and focus on impact. We’ll use all we’ve learned over the past seven years of VOSD to build a thriving and sustainable organization.

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