Somehow, another year of MWOF is officially in the books.
As about 10% of you might remember, the first edition
of this newsletter made it to your inboxes two years ago this month.
“My hope in creating this newsletter,” I wrote at the time, “Is to take a small step towards building an informed virtual community around disaster preparedness, resiliency, and recovery efforts.”
Across the 80+ editions since, I’ve tried to both honor and expand on that aim, and I wanted to share a small sample of the many topics this newsletter touched on in its second year:
- I’m particularly proud of my new series, Demystifying Disasters, which launched with an explainer on emergency management (updates on this below)!
- I love really getting into the weeds of disaster programs, like I did in this three-part series on Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC), FEMA’s highly-touted new program for funding mitigation projects.
- I’m always incredibly grateful for the time people in disaster-impacted areas take to shed light on their experiences, and I was able to bring you more of those perspectives.
- I also really appreciate the chance to hear from experts in this space, and I talked to a lot of them this past year about everything from what a disaster is to how Covid has transformed grassroots disaster groups and who gets a seat at the emergency management table.
- And, as I returned to field reporting, I’ve done my best to take you along with me, sharing some of the context and quotes that didn’t make it into my published pieces. I even talked about my background and how disasters became my reporting focus.
On that note, I wanted to pull the curtain back a bit on this newsletter. I’ve long joked about my “editor
” being my only team member, but I actually had a lot more help in this second year.
First, I launched a paid subscriber option
, and dozens of you stepped up to support my work. Without this funding, I would not have been able to create the more in-depth reporting I shared above. Keeping this content free for a broader audience is essential to my mission, and I really appreciate all of you who share that vision with me. Plus, it’s been fun testing creative new content with this smaller audience!
Then, in the fall, I was selected to join a Creators Lab
hosted by City University of New York and Media in Color, and I spent months taking courses on how to better serve and grow this newsletter audience while staying true to my original aims. Through that program, I’ve been connected with a number of incredibly talented journalists who have helped advise the direction of this newsletter, and I wanted to share with you some of the priorities they helped me develop for the year ahead:
More Demystifying Disasters: Like I said above, I am so proud of that first edition — but wow, did it take a lot of time! I’ve been working on the next set of issues (one of which you’ll be receiving so soon), but I wanted you to know this remains a priority for me and that I’m working on finding a more consistent schedule for publishing these moving forward.
More collaboration: I had the fantastic opportunity to partner with the newsletter Weathered earlier this year on an edition, and I have another issue coming soon with a different writer I really admire. I think these collaborations are a great way to bring in outside perspectives and expertise, and I’m eager to keep finding new voices to bring you in the coming months.
More interactive events: I tried out a few ways to connect this year, and I was encouraged by how many of you were interested in joining. So, starting next month, I’ll be hosting a once-a-month Twitter Space with different special guests. I’ll give you a week’s notice in the newsletter so you can be sure to mark your calendars, and I hope to have the chance to chat with many of you!
To make all of that happen, I’ll be scaling back the number of editions free subscribers receive each month to three. On the “off” week, paid subscribers will receive a transcript of that month’s Twitter chat in case they weren’t able to listen live.
Like I mentioned above, keeping my reporting free for a broader audience is a key part of the reason I created this newsletter, but it has been a challenge to keep up with a weekly schedule and create additional paid subscriber content. I hope this can be a good compromise, as free subscribers will still have a chance to listen live to those conversations as they happen. And of course, I’ll continue to think up and share other types of bonus content with paid subscribers!
I am always interested in hearing your feedback when I make changes, so if you have any thoughts, just hit reply to reach me directly.
Now, as 2020 Colleen wrote: “Let’s keep building this community around one of the key stories of our era.”