What We Learned Our First Year

Image By Andrikkos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image By Andrikkos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We envisioned this post to be a year recapped in pictures from our posts. Sometimes we are led in different directions without the ability to explain why – and this is a prime example of what that looks like.

On December 31, 2013, I sat at my computer desk and scanned a preview of the website one last time before pushing the “Launch” button. Ready or not, here we go.

One year later, we review the insights and activity logs, the posts that were read the most, the comments that have been made, countries you are from and what you liked the most.

What did all this review and year of work teach us? Here are our top ten for 2014:

#10: This is not about what we want to write about: it is about what we need to cover.
We can’t cover everything we want. Our posts are based on adding a perspective or voice to a conversation that is already taking place, or to include something being left out of the conversation.

#9: We will never run out of things to cover – sadly.
2014 was not a good year for victories toward democracy. When the year started, we thought things were getting better. We found out that by the end of the year, world conditions have deteriorated to a level never before seen in global unrest and terrorism. We feel the anguish of every mother who has lost a child, of every victim that has been abused, of every veteran whose country has failed in the promise to care for them after service, of every oppressed person who strives for the very basic of human rights and is given none.

#8: These things are not always easy to write about.
When we write, these things get personal. Our past experiences, our lives as humans, our roles within our society have all provided us with empathy. There are times writing about rape will bring back those nightmares; writing about oppression brings memories of our own; writing about domestic abuse triggers the old scars; reviewing worker abuses enrages the former shop steward; writing about stereotyping and bigoted behavior reminds us of why this all started.

#7: We learn more than we can talk about in the posts.
What you read is an overview. You can be assured that every link we share in the posts have been read completely. We look for credible sources, we find incredible writers. What we learn will sometimes come out in a later story, or that ah-hah moment when links between stories surface.

#6: Choosing just one daily post is harder than we thought.
There are days we have some real vocal “discussions” about what the next story will be. No one wins all the time – except the readers. We base our decision on timeliness and current coverage, meeting our standards of being apolitical while discussing politics. If all the media is covering something, we will look for what they are disregarding. But our real goal is to get critical thought about issues that matter to us all. You can’t do that under constant bombardment of things to process.

#5: We are reminded daily that the human spirit is alive and well.
Malala. Kobane. The Rojava Constitution. Ukraine. Hong Kong. Ferguson. et al.

#4: If our post does not add a new point to a discussion, we are simply parrots.
If all you wanted was a broadcast of the daily headlines, you’d look somewhere else. You may not always agree with our view on certain things. But we’d rather give you something to think about – something with some meat to it. Parrots are content with crackers and seeds. We’d like you to have a more substantial diet.

#3: We know we have changed lives.
We hear from you. You tell us when we have made a difference. I know my own life has changed as a result of doing this work. I do not do it because it is easy; I do it because at the end of each day, it has all been worth it. Not everyone will understand that – but I think you will.

#2: We know there is much more work to do.
2015 shows every sign of trying to topple 2014’s year of turmoil. We desire safety to those in the struggle. We know by the end of this new year, many more will die in the fight for freedom and human rights. Many more will be homeless. Many more will be displaced or living as refugees. Many more will know the atrocities of terror and endure the travesty of war crimes. We also know journalism is being repressed as all these things are happening.

And our #1 reason to keep going:

#1: We are still here and growing – and we have YOU to thank for it!

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