Dear Gentle Reader,
When I started The Nicaragua Dispatch at the end of 2011, the wrathful Media Gods raised an amused eyebrow in our direction.
Online journalism is a precarious endeavor in the best of circumstances, so the digital deities must have enjoyed a celestial chuckle at The Nicaragua Dispatch’s efforts to make a go of it in an untested market encumbered by the lowest Internet connectivity rate and the smallest economy in Central America. It wasn’t even worth wasting a lightening bolt on us.
But what the Media Gods didn’t realize is that the normal laws of nature don’t apply in Nicaragua. In the land where lead floats and cork sinks, implausibility is king. The only project that is guaranteed to fail in Nicaragua is the one that makes perfect sense.
So, comforted by the notion that The Nicaragua Dispatch was an addlepated pursuit with no reasonable chance of survival, I started publishing daily news and analysis, with a focus on original reporting and exclusive interviews for an honest, insightful and engaging read. From the beginning, I strived to produce a website that is not only informative and provocative, but also one that promotes innovation, community-building and freedom of expression.
Today, The Nicaragua Dispatch has developed into a vibrant and growing online community of people around the world who are united by their common interest and affection for Nicaragua.
From the urban-like areas and remote reaches of Nicaragua, to the big cities of the world—New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City, Toronto, London, Berlin, Sydney and even Tehran—The Nicaragua Dispatch has developed a loyal community of readers who log on every day to see what’s new in Nicaragua. As our readership grows—up threefold in 2012—so too has readers’ interest in participating in this project.
We have published hundreds of reader-submitted blogs and community articles over the past 16 months. On our pages, people have told us about their projects, proposals, and ideas for how to build a better Nicaragua. Readers have shared their concerns, frustrations and hopes for the country.
The comment threads have become lively spaces for dialogue, debate and disagreement. The opinions expressed on those threads challenge, congratulate, criticize and sometimes confuse; some are nutty and nattering, but many contribute to the debate by offering interesting insights, prompting animated exchanges and—most importantly—allowing people to connect with one another. The free exchange of ideas has allowed readers to connect with others who are like-minded and involved in similar projects in Nicaragua.
The Nicaragua Dispatch is proud to be an online agora for the community-building efforts and cross-cultural exchanges that occur daily on the pages of this website.
But we need your help, Kindly Reader, to keep the pot boiling in 2013. We launched a fundraiser last August, and many of you responded generously, allowing us to make it through the end of the year. Now we need your help to continue on through 2013.
To cover our rising operating costs, we need to ask our readers for donations to keep Nicaragua Dispatch going. We are setting a goal of $12,000 for 2013—a small amount for a media project to run on, but enough to give us a fighting chance to make it through the year.
We believe that the free press should not be locked behind pay walls. But that means readers who believe in this product need to help fund it. It may sound like a paradox to say readers have to donate to avoid paying for the news, but life is full of contradictions and the media industry is certainly no exception. We know from experience that a fundraiser means asking the generous and fair among you to subsidize the rest. But Nicaragua Dispatch can’t afford to subsidize everyone—not should it. I still believe that journalism deserves to be a paid profession, despite the havoc of the vengeful Media Gods who have turned the industry’s economy upside down.
Please help keep the free press alive in Nicaragua. Help The Nicaragua Dispatch keep the news coming. Help us continue to grow this unique online community for Nicaragua. And help me prove that the Media Gods are no match for Nicaragua.
All donations to The Nicaragua Dispatch will help us get closer to our fundraising goal. In fact, if everyone gave just $10 or $20, we’d be in great shape.
For those in a position to give more, a donation of $100 makes you a “Friend of The Nicaragua Dispatch 2013.” You get your name listed on Our Sponsors’ page and become an instant hero in your community.
And those who give $500 or more earn the lifelong title of “Kindly Benefactor,” making you a defender of the free press whose fame endureth forever and whose praise shall be sung o’er the lakes and volcanoes for generations to come.
Each category of donor will receive an exciting Nicaragua Dispatch collectable to display proudly in your home or RV.
Thank you all for reading and supporting The Nicaragua Dispatch.
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