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Sunday, June 23, 2024

An open letter to our members

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El Colectivo 506
El Colectivo 506
El equipo editorial de El Colectivo 506 trabajó en conjunto para publicar esta nota. The editorial staff of El Colectivo 506 worked together to publish this article.

Sent to our active annual donors, May 2024.

We are so grateful to you for being an active member of El Colectivo 506. We’re not exaggerating when we say that we would not be continuing to do this if it weren’t for each of our active members. 

Your donations helped us pass a milestone: so far, 2024 is the first year in which we have been able to pay ourselves a $500 stipend for our work each month. After three years in which many months went unpaid—especially since we prioritize hiring independent and, whenever possible, rural journalists each time we have income—this partial compensation is a small but important step for our newsroom.

(We’re now up against the challenge of continuing to do this in the months ahead. We’re doing our mid-year donation drive right now to bring more members into this inner circle—we’re hoping to reach 50 members. Those who wish to renew their support or donate for the first time can do so here.)

In short, during the first half of 2024, YOU kept the lights on for the two of us—allowing us to keep knocking on doors, bringing in sponsors, and writing grants so that we can keep our newsroom alive.

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Here’s a quick look at what we’ve achieved in the past five months because of you.

First, we gave our media organization the gift of time: time to reflect and refine the way we create and fund our editions. We’re now taking more time for each project, starting with a national survey to get input from our audience, and following up with work to study the impact of our work. This allows us to work more closely with our sponsors, and is all part of our mission to change the way we talk about Costa Rica’s challenges.

 

 

Next, we used this approach to publish an in-depth edition on one of Costa Rica’s biggest environmental challenges: waste management. We focused on one slice of that pie, recycling, and published long-form pieces; opinion pieces from our four sponsors; a new section called “Why Not This?” that examines great ideas from other countries; and tons of videos. (We even ventured onto TikTok for the first time.) If you liked the edition, there’s still time to check it out and give us your feedback here.

We kept winning global awards! Our 2023 story by the journalism student Jhostyn Díaz Tenorio, “The green veins of our concrete cities,” won Best Student Solutions Journalism 2023 in the first-ever global sojo awards from the Solutions Journalism Network. And we were selected for the competitive international Dart Center Early Childhood Reporting Institute at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York City in March. (Stay tuned for our upcoming reporting on early childhood caregivers.)

We dove into a brand-new topic for us: men’s mental health. With Costa Rica’s violence rates at historic highs, much of which is inextricably linked to traditional understandings of gender, we are determined to create an edition that highlights men’s efforts to open up new spaces for conversation and support. We worked with the Instituto WEM to train a group of male journalists in new concepts in understanding masculinity, and are now recruiting sponsors for an upcoming deep dive into this topic. Check out our first piece on this topic here.

Finally, we took our message and mission to… the rest of Latin America! We launched the nonprofit Latin American Solutions Journalism Fund to train and support journalists all over the region in the practice of solutions journalism. The fund is housed at our nonprofit ally, the SOMOS Foundation, and can receive U.S. tax-deductible donations through Amigos of Costa Rica. The first donation to the fund this month allowed us to join forces with the Solutions Journalism Network to train 15 journalists from Argentina, Brasil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, giving them the skills they need to teach other journalists in solutions journalism.

The three professors of the five-session course are none other than Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network; SJN LatAm coordinator Jonathan Gutiérrez; and our own Mónica Quesada Cordero.

We’ll have much more to tell you soon, including Mónica’s travels to Colombia to meet with journalists from all over the region! But for now, our heartfelt thanks for walking this path with us. It means the world to us to have you alongside.

Do you have any comments or questions? Would you like to share a word or two about why you support our independent solutions journalism, that we could use to invite new members to join? Write to us anytime at [email protected] or via WhatsApp, 8506.1506. As always, we’d love to hear from you.

Un abrazo fuerte,

Katherine and Mónica

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