No, you haven’t come to the wrong place! Today, with the start of spring, we are giving birth to a new publication. RH Reality Check has been transformed with a new name, new face, and new site.
We are now Rewire.News (rewire.news)!
Sleeker, cleaner, easier to navigate. Our name and site have changed, but our goals—to provide you, our readers, with evidence-based news, analysis, commentary, and investigative reporting on reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice—remain the same.
Just over four years ago, RH Reality Check became an independent 501(c)(3). It was our vision to build a high-quality daily online publication focused on our issues and fulfilling the core function of journalism: to contribute to a free and just society by ensuring the exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough.
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At that time, we made a bet: If we consistently produced evidence-based journalism and did things right, we would see substantial organic growth in readership and visibility, and an increased influence of our work on other media. No click-bait. No sensationalism. No ads.
We started with a staff of three. We sought to challenge the false equivalencies and stigmatizing reporting on abortion, contraception, gender, sexuality, race, class, violence, and other core issues that pervade so much of the media today and that enable the spread of policies that are antithetical to public health and human rights. We knew we had to raise the money, hire staff, and prove our own concept. We knew we would likely have a smaller readership, at least initially, than sites with deeper pockets, longer histories, and even click-bait, but we also knew our readers would be consuming fact-based journalism.
Now, we have realized a part of our dream. We’ve grown to a staff of 30 people across 13 states, including professional journalists, legal analysts, investigative reporters, and editors, as well as social media, multimedia, communications, development, and technology specialists. We’ve got a small but stellar financial team to make sure we can account for every dollar we spend. We have a dedicated board of directors to ensure good governance.
As we launch Rewire.News, we’ve gone from a site that logged fewer than 5,000 unique readers per month in 2012 to between 700,000 and 800,000 unique readers per month in 2016, distributed throughout the United States and in at least 30 other countries. Our numbers keep growing steadily. And that growth assures us: People want facts.
Moreover, our readership now encompasses policymakers throughout the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, as well as at the state level. We are read by researchers, advocates, service providers, and the medical and reproductive health communities; the left and the right; and, perhaps most importantly, other media outlets, which increasingly link to, amplify, re-report, quote, or otherwise use our work. Our reporting and analysis can now be found in Supreme Court briefs, legislative records, speeches, and other arenas in which people are marshaling good journalism and facts to influence policy.
There is a lot to Rewire.News that is new and different. We are developing a multimedia section, including new podcasts with personal stories of reproductive injustice, and the laws that rob people of fundamental rights. We are launching Culture & Conversation, a new section devoted to exploring Rewire.News’s core issues as they emerge in popular culture. We’re publishing a Campaign Week in Review, which seeks to make sense of the good, the bad, and the head-scratching news about the 2016 presidential election. And there is much more to come. We’ve also made one change, removing on-site comments, that may disappoint some readers. Most of the conversations generated by our work, including vigorous debates, are taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. It no longer made sense for us to dedicate scarce staff time to managing comments on the site. We apologize to anyone who is disappointed.
In the coming months, please bear with us as we take the new site for a spin. There are likely to be a few hiccups and we are still working on final touches to some sections. Let us know when you see problems or have feedback, or suggestions on things you’d like to see developed. We can’t do everything but we are always responsive to new ideas.
In beginning anew, we also need to be grateful. And as editor in chief, I have much for which to be grateful. I get to work every day with the amazing, dedicated, ethical, fun people who make up our staff. You cannot build a publication without good people, and we have some of the best on our team. Thank you to our staff from the bottom of my heart. Thanks especially to those who’ve been spending long hours these past months to get the site ready.
We are all deeply grateful to the analysts, researchers, advocates, lawyers, organizers, policymakers, and colleagues who give us tips, provide expert advice, and help our reporters better understand issues. We can’t do our work effectively without these sources’ research and analysis on what people need to live safe, healthy lives.
You can’t build and sustain a 501(c)(3) publication without a board of directors willing to consider big ideas and take big risks. Our board has been with us every step of the way, supporting the big vision even when it seemed a little too big. They deserve enormous credit for helping us to take the incremental steps necessary to fulfill our larger goals over a period of time. Thank you to our board from all of us.
Also, you can’t build much of anything without money. Any endeavor like this depends on the sustained flow of resources to pay good salaries, offer good benefits, and ensure that the staff that works so hard to produce high-quality work is compensated for their efforts. We are deeply, enduringly grateful to the private foundations that have supported our work and our vision from day one. None of this could have happened without them.
We have to thank the folks at Teal Media, the firm that has worked with us for a year, from concept to coding, to help us find a name and build a site of which we could be proud. The Teal team, led by Jessica Teal, is among the best, guiding us through this process with humor, grace, and a superlative degree of professionalism.
We are also deeply grateful to you, our readers, for supporting us in so many ways, including by sharing links with other audiences, engaging in conversations about our issues, and holding us accountable when we make mistakes. We are so deeply grateful to all of you. And none of this can be sustained without your help. An increasing number of outlets are controlled by corporations with a diminishing focus on journalism in the public interest and an increasing focus on their bottom lines. In this environment, truly independent nonprofit media—of which we are a part—are more important than ever before. In fact, we are all essential to the functioning of a just and free society and to democracy.
That means that increasingly we need to rely not only on the generous support of and donations from foundations, but also from individual readers like you.
I hope as we turn this new page on this new season, you will consider planting a seed by giving us a donation, today, tomorrow, or whenever you can. It can be $5, $500, or $5,000. It doesn’t matter: We promise every dollar will be made to count. We also promise to wake up every day asking how we can do our best to provide evidence-based journalism, challenge false narratives, and produce the best news, analysis, commentary, and investigative reporting we can, without fealty to any political party, lawmaker, or organization.
We are and remain grateful for your support, your honest critique whenever you feel it is needed, your suggestions, and your partnership.
So welcome to Rewire.News. And thank you. From all of us.