We’re coming up on seven years since Anchor Rising launched. In the peculiar sensation of time, the days have felt as if they’ve sped, but it seems as if the site has been around forever.
When we started out, we had the attitude of hobbyists — we would battle the problems of Rhode Island and the nation as we had time. But as we moved forward, not only did we pick up a healthy growth curve of readers, but we slid into habits of research and content creation somewhat beyond a hobbyist’s scope. We’ve done some real, substantive research; we’ve gathered audio and video of events as if it were our occupation.
And we’ve done a fair bit of good.
Last winter, I was hopeful that enough people had seen the value in what we do that we could find funding for a single full-time job. We pretty quickly found enough pledges to form a healthy baseline, but nowhere near enough to make the transition without a large investment from a single person or group. Twice the possibility of the dream come true was tantalizingly close, but, well, people have their own ideas and priorities.
I continue to believe that a year of full-speed Anchor Rising would make its own case (and allow enough freedom of time and movement) for us to find consistent revenue to continue growing beyond the range of a hobby. Unfortunately, we lack the resources to fund that year; I (for one) don’t even have the remaining capacity for debt to take out a business loan for that purpose.
Yet, life has its demands. I’m going to do my best to continue with the regular content for the rest of August, but come September, I have to reorder my priorities. We’ll still be here, making our opinions known, but I’ll be putting aside the sense of obligation to have a steady stream of new posts. Spring 2011 was just too arduous, and I’ve got to find some other direction.
In terms of the free market, Rhode Island and its center-right contingent have expressed a lack of interest in a media organization such as Anchor Rising is and could be. It’s unfortunate that we’re about to slide into the most critical election season in recent memory — both for Rhode Island and for the United States. We had hoped to provide a counter to the stream of skewed PolitiFacts and politically tilted journalism and to challenge the flawed ideas that dominate Rhode Islanders’ sense of how things should function.
The state, in particular, really, truly needs a voice that will make the long-term case that conservative ideas aren’t strange notions at which to scoff in the thick of debates and campaigning, but are at the very least arguable and are very likely correct. Anchor Rising’s readership has been small, relative to the major media organizations in Rhode Island, but our reach has been broad, attracting the attention of the people who set the storyline for the state.
I can’t think of a better political or ideological investment than making good ideas and common sense seem less foreign year ’round. That’s the groundwork that must be in place for real reform to occur. Activist groups can alert the public to the greatest excesses, and charismatic politicians might individually slip into office with just the right blend of name recognition and negative ads. But their victories will be fleeting unless we change the way that people understand their society.
For that, what’s necessary is continual conversation… reasoned explanations of a method of thought, with research and examples from current events as evidence. Anchor Rising is well positioned to offer such a service, but the effort can’t continue to require so much sacrifice of our personal lives and ambitions.