To our readers,

It’s been about six months since we began the Ithaca Voice with little more than a nice blog design and a handful of eager volunteers. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and where we can improve. But even as challenges remain, we are so glad to make the following announcement, just in time for the holiday season: The Voice is here to stay.

It is now beyond doubt that our small operation has found a foothold in this community. We are proud to say that we have the highest web traffic ranking in Ithaca, according to Alexa.com. But this isn’t what makes us sure that we’ve been embraced. It’s instead something we can feel — and something we do feel every day. We feel it when we see the comments on our Facebook wall, when we open our daily reader emails, when a stranger stops us at Gorgers Subs to ask, “Hey, aren’t you the Ithaca Voice guys?”

We are expanding. About two months ago, the number of full-time Ithaca Voice staffers grew from one to two. (A 100% increase!) Director of Video Advertising Mike Blaney has already won rave reviews for the videos he has made for local businesses and non-profits, like this one for the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. His work has transformed the capabilities of online media advertising in this market, creating an opportunity to captivate and engage consumers as never before.

Ithaca Voice Editor Jeff Stein and Director of Video Advertising Mike Blaney in the Rev offices.

We are also proud to report that we will finally be moving into an office. Since its inception, The Voice has operated out of a friend’s house here and a coffee shop there, never really having a headquarters to call our own. That will change on Jan. 5, 2015, as The Voice becomes a member of the downtown Ithaca incubator Rev. For those who don’t know, Rev is a startup accelerator, jointly funded by the area colleges, that provides office space and mentorship to some of the most promising new businesses around town. We couldn’t be more excited to join this project.

Major challenges remain. To truly become the community newspaper of Ithaca, we will eventually need more than one full-time reporter. We have some big plans for how we get there, including a membership campaign that we hope to roll out in January or February. Look for more on that in the weeks to come.

Lastly, we want to take this opportunity to thank you — for your questions, for your criticisms, for your praise and for your passion. Most of all, we want to thank you for reading: Doing so demonstrates that you care about what’s happening in your city, which in turn shows that you care about the lives and well-being of your neighbors. This simple act of compassion is the animating force behind all community journalism, and it makes our work possible.

So: Thank you. We hope you enjoy a merry Christmas, a happy holiday break and a wonderful New Year. We look forward to being a part of it.

Sincerely,
— Editor Jeff Stein
— Director of Video Advertising Michael Blaney


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.