We’re Not Just News, We’re A News Service And We’re Launching A Safe Community Conversation Space

As the founder and editor of Shasta Scout, I’m always working to simplify the language I use to describe who we are and what we do. Recently I’ve made my description of our work even more basic.

“Shasta Scout is a free online news service for Shasta County.”

Yes we’re still nonprofit and independent. And we’re still very much focused on diverse, in-depth, investigative stories. But I’m realizing people may need the basics first: We’re free. We’re based in Shasta County. We’re online only. And we’re not just news, we’re a news service. 

That phrase, news service, might not seem like much, but it means a lot to me as a signifier of all Shasta Scout is, and all we want it to be, for our community. 

  • We work for you, not for profit. Journalism is a public service. 
  • We increase access to important information. 
  • We help you understand why that information matters and what you can do with it.
  • We help you communicate with each other, us, and people in power.
  • We learn from, and are guided by, your needs. 

Over our first year, much of our focus has been on those first three bullet points, providing information and helping you understand why it matters, as a public service. 

Along the way you’ve told us how much you want opportunities to communicate healthily and constructively with each other, us and people in power. We see this need as critically important to our mission because it deepens our interdependence with you – one of the keys to sustainable non-profit journalism.

That’s why, at a time when we already feel overextended, we’re about to launch something new – a safe community conversation space. I’ll be very vulnerable here for a moment and tell you that my own risk of burnout is one of the greatest threats to viability that Shasta Scout faces moving forward. That’s because I’m not only the founder and editor, I’m also the business manager, the lead community reporter and the audience engagement specialist. And I don’t yet pay myself for my work. But entrepreneurial life, in news media or elsewhere, is all about calculated risk. It requires courageous vision paired with consistent strategic action. As an entrepreneur, I lead from my strong and dependable sense of intuition, which encourages me that this new project will be a source of strength, connection and hope not only for you, but for me and our Scout team. 

I sincerely hope you’ll join us as we launch on Discord where you’ll find a dedicated safe space for our members to engage in conversation about the information we share, what you’re still trying to understand about that information, and how we can work together to utilize what we’re learning to make powerful change in our community. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • What’s Discord?
    • Discord is an app where people can gather in private communities to share conversations. To get involved you’ll just need to download the app on your phone and/or computer and make an account – it takes less than ten minutes. You can set up your notifications to work for you so that you see the conversations from our community that you want to, when you want to. 
  • Why Discord? 
    • We’ve considered a lot of ways to facilitate more Scout community conversations. While we’ve considered using website comments and social media comments, both have serious limitations that don’t meet our community needs. On Discord we can keep a variety of conversations going, not just your thoughts on our latest article but also threads dedicated to information you want us or others to know.  We can limit membership to donors (no matter how small the amount you give) and we can moderate carefully to ensure open communication that’s still safe, and more private. We can also open channels under our server to support related community networking, where other groups with shared interests can post and discuss. 
  • Who Can Join In? 
    • We’re launching this as a member-only benefit for two reasons.  To help drive our sustainability moving forward by providing incentives to give monthly, and because making this member-only will increase the likelihood that conversations will be occurring between people who are committed to a broadly shared vision of community change that includes the news.

Looking forward to more community conversations. You all are what makes this work worthwhile. It’s the opportunities to meet you in person or online, answer your questions, hear your tough feedback, and receive your encouragement that keep me going each day. See you on Discord soon!

Annelise Pierce

Publisher, Shasta Scout

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