About a year ago, Dave Askins gave me a pocket watch. It’s a lovely device: simple in design, functional, evocative of a different era. The pocket watch holds all sorts of meaning for me, and it wasn’t a random gift – you might have noticed that here at The Ann Arbor Chronicle, we have an affection for watches and clocks.
Exactly a year ago today, Dave and I launched The Chronicle – with a watch in its masthead – intending to provide in-depth coverage of issues we felt were important or intriguing to the community. We believe that a critical part of the media’s watchdog role can be played by sticking to a simple premise: Just show up and watch. Observe, listen, notice, revel in seemingly unimportant detail – that’s how you discover what decisions are being made, and why. That’s how you learn about relationships, and how you notice the small things that sometimes turn out to be really important.
When we started, we also wanted to have some fun along the way, and make a living publishing The Chronicle. A year later, we’ve done that. And honestly? I can’t quite believe it.
We’ve made it through one year because of the support of hundreds of individuals who’ve found value in what we do. Many of you have passed along information to us that we’ve sometimes been able to turn into stories. And many have taken time to post comments on our stories that have added information, analysis, insight and novel perspective. Some of you have taken the time to send along corrections when we got something wrong, and we’ve learned from that.
We’ve made it because columnists and freelancers have begun to expand the range of our coverage. And this summer we got a welcome boost from interns, too.
We’ve made it thanks to those of you who’ve supported us financially with your voluntary “subscriptions.” I’ll never forget the giddy feeling of getting our first Chronicle check in the mail – now I know exactly why merchants frame the first dollar bill they earn. We’ve made it because of the local businesses and institutions that support us through their advertising dollars, even though their budgets are tight – we’re grateful to you all.
So what’s next? It’s tempting to make grand pronouncements on occasions like this, or to set ambitious goals for the coming year. That’s for later. For now, I’ve got some celebrating to do.
For those of you who don’t know, Dave Askins – the man who gave me the pocket watch and who edits and writes for this publication – is also my husband. And today, along with The Chronicle’s anniversary, we’re also celebrating our own. One year for The Chronicle seems like a long time; 20 years of marriage seemed almost unimaginable back in 1989. And yet, here we are – still discovering new things, still having fun, still happiest to be in each other’s company.
I can only hope that as we watch another 19 years go by, we’ll be able to say the same about The Ann Arbor Chronicle.
About the author: Mary Morgan is publisher of The Ann Arbor Chronicle.