1. WE GET RURAL. In a world that’s getting more citified every day, we at Dakotafire understand the appeal of rural places: Peacefulness. Connection to the land. Close-knit communities. Safety. We believe keeping rural communities strong and vibrant is good not only for the places we call home, but for the nation as a whole—because tending to rural is tending to the roots of the nation. We give a voice to those who aren’t content to see rural places wither away.
2 – JOURNALISM IS OUR THING. We love diving deep into topics and surfacing later with some pearls of wisdom we didn’t know before. The learning is fun in itself; sharing that learning is what fulfills us. And we enjoy working with other rural journalists doing the same kind of work in their own communities.
3 – WE FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS. We know there are things that the public needs to hear that aren’t pleasant. But the story doesn’t have to end there. In almost every instance where you find a problem, you’ll also find someone working on a solution. Dakotafire searches for those pieces or beginnings of a solution and tells those stories, too—not to suggest that any one solution is the perfect answer, but to plant the seeds of possibility thinking much more broadly.
4. IT’S MORE THAN A MAGAZINE. Our goal is encouraging conversations that help rural residents rethink what’s happening and reimagine what’s possible. Hosting events is part of that work. And we are always exploring new ways to get people talking about sparking rural revival.
5. WE ARE HOMEGROWN DAKOTANS. Dakotafire, at the moment, is owned and staffed entirely by women. Most of us are moms; all of us are working from our homes, occasionally as family life swirls around us. There’s no big corporation anywhere directing what we do, or distributing profits to distant shareholders. We’re just a group of grown-up Dakota kids, following a dream to use our skills to make the place where we live better.
6. WE HAD GRANT FUNDING … NOW WE DON’T. Dakotafire had total financial support for the first three years (thanks, Knight Foundation, South Dakota Community Foundation and others!), and partial financial support for another year and a half (thanks, Bush Foundation!). As of January, that grant funding has ended. We still may seek grant dollars in the future, but at the moment, we aim to be self-supporting. Advertising is going to make up a big chunk of our revenue (we love our advertisers!), and newspaper and community sponsors cover some costs (thanks so much, sponsors!). But we also want to get support from you, our readers. We have a few subscribers (thanks, subscribers!)—but most of you reading this do not pay to receive it. This is the new world of journalism, where no one source of revenue is going to pay all the bills. We have to look for funding from many directions. We want one of those directions to be coming from you, our readers, so we’re also partly accountable to you. Our plan is to ask in a big way, once a year, for your financial support.
7 – YOU GET TO PICK THE THEME FOR THE MARCH/APRIL 2017 ISSUE. Be our boss, and tell us what to do! Become a Fired Up member in any amount over $5 during the month of May, and you’ll also get a vote on what the topic should be in March/April 2017, our “Member’s Choice” issue! Go to www.dakotafire.net/getfiredup for details.
8 – Membership is a way to show your support. If you appreciate what Dakotafire has done to spark conversations or possibility thinking in your community, becoming a Fired Up member is a way to say that you want our work to continue—and that you also believe in a bright future for rural places.