This past year was an interesting one here. The Illinois Eagle has grown a lot this year.
We’ve had a couple of stories go truly viral. Our post about Jack Thompson winning International Mr. Leather got some airtime, though only because someone shared it while sharing a transphobic comment. Not quite how I’d like us to get attention, but it’s something.
Then there was the school board member in Evansville, Ind., getting caught on tape saying “cry me a river.” That got picked up by Newsweek. And while I am happy we were able to bring attention to it, I’m just a little freaked out at the site getting that much attention.
We also found out that our readers do value what we do. A couple of months ago, we had barely $20 a month coming in and we were looking at losing some of the services we use to find the news we report. Thanks to the amazing generosity of people, the Eagle is now getting just shy of $100 a month, enough to pay for hosting, email and our RSS reader. It gives us stability to keep doing what we’re doing.
Looking ahead, while I do hope we can get more people donating to our Patreon (hint, hint), I am hoping to get more contributions of a different type: news.
I would like more people to take part in helping covering the state. Actually, it’s more like need. I try to cover all I can, but Illinois is a big state and I can’t be everywhere as much as I’d like to be. I also only have so much energy and time. There have been times I haven’t posted articles simply because I’m worn out. I do this on top of a full time job. So what I hope to see is more people covering their own local communities.
And I mean everything. Local city council meetings, elections. But also drag shows, university events, PFLAG meetings and new businesses. Interviewing people who are doing something to help build the LGBTQ community away from the big cities. If you need help on how to write the stories or what kind of photos to get, just let me know.
People can be a regular contributor and get their own login, or just send something in when they have a story. Either way, you do get a byline.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for my readers to send in news tips or submissions. Our biggest story this year, the “cry me a river” school board member, came from a regular reader who tagged me in a post of theirs. It would not have been possible without all of you.
Thank you for being readers of the Illinois Eagle. You are the reasons I do this and keep running this site. I really couldn’t do it without you.