A more official launch for PDX.Vote

I’ve been posting to this site for a little over a month as a sort of soft launch. I’ve tested out a few ideas I had to see what other folks in Portland may be interested in reading and I’m feeling ready for a more official launch.

PDX.Vote is in a shape where I’m comfortable sharing it more widely, though I still expect to make tweaks moving forward in order to information as accessible as possible. In the meanwhile, let’s take this launch as an opportunity to tour the site and talk about some goals moving forward.

A PDX.Vote site tour

The most important part of the site is the Updates page. While you’ll always find the latest digest and the latest article on the home page, you’ll want to click “Updates” in the upper right corner to get to slightly older digests and articles. There’s also a search box in the site’s footer to look for specific content. I’m building out a tagging system that I’ll be able to use to construct pages for specific candidates, but that’s still a work in progress.

The other two important links in the upper right corner are for the Subscribe and Support pages. Subscribing is and will continue to be free, because I think that paywalling information crucial to the functioning of our community endangers our community. Currently, there are options for subscribing by email and by RSS feed. Please consider subscribing and getting our updates as soon as they go out — the news posted to PDX.Vote often requires public action.

The main way to support this news coverage is with financial contributions. If you’re comfortably able to contribute, please consider doing so. I’m not accepting advertising for the site, because I want to be able to share all important news without trying to accommodate some financial backer’s wishes. Current options are a one-time contribution of $10 and a monthly contribution of $10. I may add more options in the future, but my goal is to run this site on small community contributions. I also plan to sell a printed voter’s guide when we get closer to the May 2022 primary (a free digital version will also be available). Running this site in a transparent way is also important to me. Part of that is making the site’s financial information available to anyone interested in that sort of thing. I’m updating the “Financials” page monthly with expenses and income. Shout out to our first supporter, who started a recurring subscription before I even finished setting up that page. Another part is listing my own political donations, along with any relevant donations from future contributors, on the “About” page.

Currently, I’m running PDX.Vote out of my own funds, which I am confident I can do until the primary. However, getting financial support is important so that I can bring in other perspectives and provide more than just digests and long-form articles. Running this site is rapidly turning into a full-time job and I’d love to be able to focus on it full-time. That will make the difference in just operating PDX.Vote through the general election in November and being able to continue operations long-term. In short, if you can contribute financially, even just once, you’ll extend the life of this site.

PDX.Vote also has “About” and “Contact” pages, like any good website should. Please contact me, ideally through the site’s contact form, if you need any accessibility accommodations or are interested in writing for PDX.Vote.

What’s next?

I’m currently working on a deep dive into campaign finance in Portland to better explain how Small Donor Elections work and how some candidates get around the few limitations they face. I’m also building out a longer-term editorial calendar, complete with writers who I’m excited to feature.

I’m also continuing to recruit writers: if you’ve got a topic you want to cover, especially from an angle you haven’t seen in other local publications, please let me know. Pay rates for articles start at $250 and go up for pieces requiring substantial research. I’m open to comics, videos, and other media, but I don’t have set rates in place for those yet. I’m especially interested in pitches from people with backgrounds different from my own and from the backgrounds that dominate the newsrooms around Portland. Even if you’ve never written an article before, please contact me and let me know what you’d like to write about.

I’ll be publishing some statistics about writers and other contributors on a quarterly basis. While sharing these stats is part of my goals around transparency, I also will be using them to help plan content and ensure that I’m bringing in as many different perspectives on Portland’s politics as possible.

I’ve written a longer post about my feeling and hopes for PDX.Vote, as well as my personal politics, but I pushed that over to my personal site because it’s more about my personal relationship with the site and with local news. It is definitely not required reading to understand this site.

With all that, I’m going to get back to work on tomorrow’s digest. Please consider subscribing to get updates from PDX.Vote and, if you’re in a position to do so, please consider making a financial contribution.

By Thursday Bram

Thursday Bram founded PDX.Vote after making numerous zines, newsletters, and other media about politics in Portland, Oregon. Thursday has also written for publications ranging from Autostraddle.com to Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find more of Thursday's work at ThursdayBram.com.