Well, this is it folks.
It’s time to move on to whatever the next chapter in my life is going to be. A lot has happened since the SDFP site went live on June 4, 2012, and I have a few closing (and personal) thoughts to express.
The vision of the founders of the San Diego Free Press was to create a platform for commentary and news from a progressive bent. We’d already mostly learned the production side of the business due to our involvement with the OB Rag.
People told us that what we were doing for Ocean Beach needed to be done for San Diego. A demonstration in 2010 outside The Black headshop, triggered by their sale of dehumanizing “don’t feel the homeless stickers” was the spark leading to meetings, more meetings, and finally the decision to launch.
Along the way I got sick. Real sick. As in stage 4 get-your-life-in-order sick. I got better after chemo, radiation, and, finally, surgery at the end of April 2012.
Better is relative, I suppose. For the final pre-publication meetings I was swollen up like a pumpkin. My vocal chords were gone, and it would be many months before surgery to create a space for a (notoriously unreliable) prosthetic to be used.
Now I look back at the experience as a gift. I lost my ability to speak, but gained a voice as I learned to share my observations on the news, life, and politics five days a week.
SDFP editors posted content every day for six and a half years: 8,965 stories, poems, photo galleries, and videos. We uploaded posts from our homes, our phones, and coffee shops along the way.
The dedication and discipline of our crew was a source of real pride. We had plenty of disagreements along the way. We made mistakes and learned from them. But most importantly, our internal issues stayed internal. This wasn’t about getting along to go along; it was about staying true to our higher calling.
My co-editors are some great people. We’ve bonded with each other despite our differences. We did something good and did it for a serious amount of time.
Along the way we attracted a stable of terrific contributors, who educated and informed all of us on topics large and small. They brought progressive history out of the shadows, turned over a few stones hiding present-day misdeeds, and preserved some moments that might have been otherwise lost.
Readers sent in more than 32,000 comments. We learned early on the importance of keeping those spaces sane and safe; statements aimed at inflaming anger, calling people names, and just being plain rude usually (again, we made some mistakes along the way) landed in the trash can.
Perhaps the biggest challenge was selling people on the concept of San Diego Free Press as a platform. Some folks, like 350.org and the ACLU, got it and contributed regularly. Thanks to all of you.
I am most proud of the work we did in becoming a place for people to learn about activist events and educate themselves before voting. It speaks volumes that our weekly progressive calendar and voter guides consistently drew the highest traffic to the site.
Our decision to not monetize the site through ads or membership drives gave us a certain freedom and allowed the volunteer editors to focus on what we did best. The fact that we were doing this for love rather money is, of course, our undoing at this point. And I’m really okay with it.
We’ve deliberately left the door open for a future incarnation of the San Diego Free Press; the site will remain as an archive for at least the next couple of years. If some folks come along and want to revive this thing, we’re open to handing over the keys.
Personally, I’m ready for a break. I intend to read a dozen books, take long walks, and keep my ear to the ground. I’m hoping to find a new niche in the new year for my skill set, and am open to suggestions. IF something major arises (like what’s-his-face quitting), I’ll use the SDFP Facebook page to share my thoughts.
Finally, a big Thank You to all the readers of this column. I learned as much from you as I did in my daily wanderings through media-land.
See you on the flipside.
John Stump says
Thank.you for your contributions.
I hope to see you at the Mel Shapiro Memorial, tomorrow 1-5, December 15th, Christ United Church, 3025 Fir St. Golden Hill
Thank you so much for all you have done..I’m really going to miss you all
Jean-Louis Coquereau says
Surely going to miss your clear displays of reality in your writing and the little sarcasm that goes with it!
Enjoy your next adventure!
Mary J. Porter says
Really going to miss this column! I truly appreciate all the education I’ve gleaned from your investigations and writings!
Cynthia Gladstone says
Prayers to you.
Ron Ranson says
Thanks for the bright spot and creative thinking over all these years. Shine on,
Dr Joan W Rayner says
Thank you Doug. Joined late but read everyone of your posts since. Enjoy your walks and books…
Nancy Finneran Witt says
Doug, I’ve been a fan right off for your wonderful writing about our local OB area and progressive thinking. Now it’s time for you to do whatever you can w/o the Rag to think of. Sleep in and do whatever your want to fill in your days ahead. You’ve had a great run.
Jeeni Criscenzo says
Doug, Thank you for being so patient with me, struggling to lip read to “hear” you. We had our challenges communicating! But we were always on the same page, so sometimes a smile and a nod sufficed. And then, there’s the writing – a very ironic thing that you lost your vocal chords but you found your voice! (well maybe you had already found it – but you found/created a place to use it. And along the way, you gave so many of us a place to use our “voices” and to “hear” others. Your writing is always right on the money! I look forward to continuing our communications in the media we both love – the written word.
Stan Levin says
no, no, Doug ….
You owe none of us your gracious thanks…
It is we who are forever indebted to YOU, Doug , along with those who have toiled tirelessly by your side all these years, giving us a voice – a platform.
Sooo, THANK YOU DOUG PORTER !
Joanne Sherif says
Thank you for your dedication, insight and persistence. I’ll miss your writing. Cheers to what awaits around the bend!
Lesa Heebner says
Thank you Doug for your dedication to your craft, to telling the truth of what’s happening in our region, and to giving voice to progressives. I’m going to really miss your daily email. I’ve learned a lot from you and can’t tell you the number of times I forwarded your column to others. My best wishes to you in your new wanderings, whatever they may be.
Steve Larson says
My old friend Marv Davidov, founder of The Honeywell Project, and a participant and speaker in about every Minneapolis/St. Paul civil action I was ever engaged in used to say: “You know, all you people here have good emotional health! You’re not going to stop this war by chaining yourselves to the courthouse doors! You’re not going to end poverty by being in this march. But, because how you FEEL on the INSIDE matches what you DO on the OUTSIDE, you are congruent! You are whole! You have good emotional health!”
Doug, I don’t think we can ever be more lucky and more blessed and more whole than to be in the right place, at the right time, doing what the world needs us to be doing. You recognized that place and stopped long enough to do the work. Thank you.
Shelley Plumb says
Doug, Thank you. I know we’ll read your enlightening words again and, hopefully, soon.
Good night and good luck.
Bonnie Bekken says
You whipped cancer. Bravo!
Bill Gillespie says
I am willing to build a team to take over. I have moved from SD with my SD Native wife. I have two pages, but can build a team of my wife’s local North County friends and my 101 and city friends, we can handle it. I started American Resistance (on Fb @AmericanOccupationResistance)
And Not Your President’s Fake News
Robb Lane says
Thank you all!!!
Byron a.k.a Groucho Marx says
Thanks for teaming with me and running my photo from the San Diego Women’s March in 2017 and 2018.
I shall always remember it.
Susan Duerksen says
I’m 100% on board with the need for a break and reading books and walking. But boy I’m going to miss your reporting and writing, Doug. Huge thanks to you and the whole SDFP team! San Diego is better for what you’ve done.
E. Berry says
thank you Doug for your independent work! It truly was free of big money and corporate interests and all that stuff. You are one of kind and i hope you keep us informed of how your life is going and if you have anymore writing up your sleeve. Take good care!