Make 2018 the year you commit to helping sustain hyperlocal news for Emeryville

Published On January 11, 2018 | By Rob Arias | Advocacy & Accountability, News & Commentary

The E’ville Eye reached a couple significant milestones in 2017. Last April we hit one million lifetime page views in our short lifespan. Perhaps most importantly for me personally, we began generating enough monthly revenue that I finally began collecting a paycheck (it only took six years!).

Our social media channels continue to see steady growth and are our city’s largest source of breaking news and discussion. Your kind words of encouragement continue to motivate me to improve and persist.

“The E’ville Eye is the number one reason I feel connected to Emeryville. Without it, I wouldn’t know what’s going on in Emeryville. Being in the know about current events in Emeryville motivates me to get involved in local politics, support local business and be active in my community.” – Nicole

We continue to pursue and write the stories that no other news source is covering and in a mostly objective way (pieces that contain opinions are clearly tagged as such). We provide researched articles that quote and cite our sources and uphold ourselves to journalism’s code of ethics.

New Contributors

More important than the small revenue stream we’ve built is our roster of reliable and consistent contributions. Christopher Bennett stepped in this year and is churning out Planning Commission recaps with timeliness and precision. Cindy Warner continues to keep her eye on our Marina neighborhood and does so with unparalleled enthusiasm.

Erin Lopez has managed to carve out some time from her busy schedule as a working mother of two to spotlight some of our city’s family-friendly businesses. We eagerly anticipate what history pieces Joey Enos will unearth once he gets settled in. Bobby Lee continues to be a consistent contributor and Mauvis Ledford’s technical brilliance has saved me many sleepless nights.

Despite our wide gamut of stories, there are still noticeable gaps. Our coverage of local government is inconsistent and I’m constantly tortured by the stories I don’t have time to write and important topics that will get overlooked. Our school district is in desperate need of some honest and fair coverage. If you’re a candidate to fill either of these vital roles, please contact us.

State of Hyperlocal News still very fragile

The fate of hyperlocal news sites like ours remains tenuous. There was a recent article in The Chronicle that exemplified our mission titled “No news is bad news in working-class East Palo Alto” (A largely minority community approaching 30,000 that is home to the Bay Area’s “other” IKEA). While news in more affluent Palo Alto is well covered, news in East Palo Alto is often overlooked. The article details how cutbacks, consolidation and closures of daily and weekly newspapers have left some communities as news “deserts”.

It wasn’t just small cities like ours that felt the pinch of the broken local news model. The five “ist” sites including SFist.com (owned by a billionaire no less) suddenly went dark this year depriving major metropolitan areas of a major source of news.

A Sense of Obligation to our Community

While making money has never been my primary motivation for delivering local news to our community (trust me, there are way easier ways of making a living), I need to start holding myself accountable to my family. With fatherhood has come a significant blow to my free time and finances (who knew?). Childcare at the Emeryville Child Development Center where my son attends was raised over 20% as a result of our city’s recent budget crisis.

Doing what I do has not come without personal sacrifice. By advocating for our community, I’ve received death threats, been harassed and my family has been the subject of intimidation by associates of our council. I’m being honest when I tell you I sometimes question if this is all really worth it but I’ve never backed down to bullying. I’m keenly aware that if I decide to hang things up, our city would fall back into the dark ages of local news.

My simple ambition this year is to generate enough recurring income to eke out a single “living wage” job for myself (I have no plans to “quit my day job”). If creating and maintaining Emeryville’s only reliable source of news isn’t worth one $15/hr. job to this city, well, then I’ll have to concede that hyperlocal news is indeed not viable and reconsider my priorities.

I still believe that local news is fundamental to our democracy. I hope you’ll agree that putting a few bucks per month that you won’t miss into supporting local news is a worthwhile investment. We’ll even throw in one of our E’ville or North Oakland neighborhood tees if you commit to at least $5/mo or $50 per year (we’ll reach out to confirm your size/style).

Thank you for reading and supporting The E’ville Eye,

-Rob Arias
Founder/Editor

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Feature Image (L-R): Bobby Lee, Erin Lopez, Christopher Bennett, Rob Arias, Cindy Warner & Joey Enos.

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

2 Responses to Make 2018 the year you commit to helping sustain hyperlocal news for Emeryville

  1. Chris Murray says:

    Great work covering the city!

    Do we get a shirt with a large enough annual contribution? I don’t see the option to specify shirt size when going through the PayPal process.

    • Rob Arias says:

      $50 annual recurring donation gets you a freebie. I couldn’t get my variants working in my Ecommerce platform so just shoot me an email at evilleeye at gmail w/size & style and I’ll get this in the mail.

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