I guess this is what you'd traditionally call "a letter from the editor." We've basically completed our first regular season of women's hockey coverage at every level, encompassing the CWHL, NWHL, NCAA Division I, and international play. (The Women's Worlds are still going on, of course.) We've also published some features about feminism/gender in sports, some media criticism, and profile pieces on female athletes.
In short: this has been awesome. Here is where we are at right now. I'll try to keep it short and sweet.
In October, I provided each member of my staff with a freelance contract stipulating a monthly stipend for six months of hockey coverage (October, November, December, January, February, and March). We've now come to an end of those contracts, and it's time to start looking forward. Offseason articles and feature articles will be paid for per article.
I also provided a similar contract to Mary, who served as a copyeditor and editorial advisor throughout the season. She reads everything, makes it appreciably better and more beautiful, and also ships the VP merch.
Nicole, Jashvina, and Melissa provided reliable and wildly insightful coverage on their respective beats all year and spent a lot of time and effort on the ground doing that work.
Angelica was unable to be a "full time" staff writer due to other obligations, but I worked closely with her all year to develop thoughtful and vital content on a variety of subjects.
I was also able to accept other freelance work from some really talented people on a per-article basis, some of which is still forthcoming.
This first six months has, hopefully, been a proof of concept that this type of work is valuable, desired, and needed in the landscape of sports reporting, and I hope you'll join me in keeping it going. Which brings us to. . .
We are still interested in obtaining sponsorships/partnerships that don't affect our content. That is, you won't see any "sponsored posts", monetizing via SEO, or anything of that nature, and certainly no advertisements. I think that providing this content without traditional advertisements is really valuable, and that part of our strength as a publication is that we primarily answer to our readership. We're always going to value our readers and the athletes/sports that we cover, and we hope that they'll value us in return for being, well, independent and dedicated solely to bringing you sports coverage and stories that you won't find anywhere else.
So, my personal offseason project is to foster a few key sponsorships that will provide us with brand partners that support our mission, in addition to a steady revenue stream. If I want this crew back next season for hockey at their current totally inadequate pay rates, I need to be making at least ~$650 a month for this website. If I want to do more, I need to be able to generate more than that. And I want to do all of that without compromising our content and without being beholden to advertisers or the mainstream media.
If you want to help, OUR PATREON is a good place to start. We have some cool t-shirts and stickers for people who pledge. The money from both the Patreon and our initial Indiegogo campaign has funded the following in addition to regular pay for our writers and editor:
- Nicole's plane ticket to the Frozen Four
- Gas money for Jashvina and I to go to cover the Outdoor Women's Classic
- Jashvina's train tickets to Newark to cover the Isobel Cup
- Gas money for me to go to Ottawa to cover the Clarkson Cup (plus I brought Angelica, but that was just a bonus)
- This website (its hosting, its theme, and our licensed typeface that we use on our graphics and merch)
- Checks that I can use to pay people
- While traveling on official Victory Press business, some donuts and poutine for your hungry writers
Basically, we've done a lot. We want to do more.
Future staff and projects
- The Rio Olympics are soon, and I have a contributor who will be covering at least one sport's qualification, live and in person. Watch this space for that in the coming weeks.
- I would love to have someone churning out well-researched articles on Olympic sports and gender at the Olympics, in lieu of not having anyone at the Olympics in person (though if you're for some reason in Rio as a spectator and would like to write something about the experience or a women's sport you are going to see, don't hesitate to reach out -- I'm serious).
- I would love to start regular coverage of an additional women's sport within the next year. That means having another editor, and another set of staff writers, completely dedicated to that sport. I don't know what it is yet, but if you want some ideas, check out our podcast (Presscast No. 1) if you haven't already. Some ideas floated include: gymnastics, basketball, soccer, softball, football, roller derby. If you're familiar with one of these sports and have a strong portfolio of work, I would love to talk to you.
- There is at least one summer sport that we may be able to provide gameday coverage of with a focus on a specific team right away. More on that very soon. (Sorry for being vague, it's just not finalized yet!)
- I am always 100% interested in your pitches about women's sports and gender issues in sports. Before you pitch, of course, please read our about page.
- If you have any ideas about how we can make the site better, we would really like to hear from you. You can reach us at @thevictorypress on Twitter, and our individual authors' handles are in the about page. For me (Zoë), I'm [email protected].
There's so much more for us to do. So let's do the thing. Thank you so much!