New campaign: Support a Reporter

By Nick R. Martin | July 12th, 2009 | 8:47 pm | 2 Comments »

Image by Darren Hester. Used under a Creative Commons license.

If you’re regular visitor to Heat City, you’ve undoubtedly seen an upswing over the past few weeks in the number of stories being posted here.

Back on June 25, the site was the first in the nation to break the news that two white supremacists — one with ties to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh — were arrested in Illinois on suspicion of sending a mail bomb to Scottsdale’s diversity office in 2004.

Another story uncovered that the second-highest-ranking cop in Mesa was investigated criminally on accusations he attacked a subordinate officer. (He was later exonerated.)

The site has also continued to document the troubles facing the media industry here in the Valley. Just this week, two of the largest news outlets in the state either laid off employees or told workers that more cuts are on the way.

Behind the scenes, these stories take a lot of time and money to develop. I’ve been meeting with sources, looking up public records and spending many hours digging up stories that matter to the Phoenix area. Now, you can help make sure the hard work and quality reporting continues with a new campaign called Support a Reporter.

For the next two weeks, until July 27, Heat City is going to be making a big push to raise just a small amount of money: $700. If you appreciate the work being done here and want to see more of it, click on the bright red “Give” button on the front page of the website.

The money will help cover the expensive costs of reporting, from public records (as much as 50 cents a page) to Internet access ($30 a month) to travel expenses (check the price of gas the next time you fill up).

When Heat City launched back in January, I set up sort of a long-term strategy to put a tip jar in the right-hand column and ask people to give as little as $1 to help fund the reporting work here. The response was great. Nearly 50 readers gave a little more than $20 apiece on average, sending in more than $1,000 during the first half of the year. Many gave $5 to the site. Some gave as much as $100. But every penny of it mattered and meant a lot to for the independent journalism being done here.

Now, I’m trying a strategy that’s just a little bit different. I’ve set the bar fairly low — at just $700 — and adding a deadline. Once the goal is met or the time expires, the campaign will disappear until the need for more funding rises again. Until then, Heat City will have a funding blitz with regular updates on the campaign and some public accounting of where the money is going.

In the meantime, Heat City has some big stories lined up in the next few weeks. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin on Wednesday in the death penalty trial of Samuel Dieteman, the confessed second killer in the Serial Shooter murder spree. I’ll also be following up on some recent stories, such as the arrest of the Scottsdale bombing suspects.

If you don’t have the money to send, don’t worry about it. Support comes in many different forms. Tell a friend, send me an email or post a link to a story you liked.

Lastly, this site has been made possible by a lot of kind support already. Thank you to those of you who have followed along and given generously. Let’s keep it going.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome job on the breaking news. Keep it up!

  • andreaaker

    Awesome job on the breaking news. Keep it up!