We launched The Border Chronicle in September 2021, after receiving a local reporting fellowship from Substack. As two longtime border journalists, we felt strongly that the U.S.-Mexico border desperately lacked reporting with history, context, and perspective from the people who live in or migrate through border communities.
The Substack funding was crucial because it gave us the space to do reporting, grow our newsletter, and establish ourselves as a border journalism outlet—not to mention pay our bills. This was almost a miracle in the current journalistic landscape of rolling layoffs, shrinking newsrooms, and the looming threat that robots will soon replace us. (We will challenge them to a duel first!)
Our Substack funding ended in September. Since then, we’ve been on our own in terms of fundraising and growing our subscriber base. Today, we’re at almost 7,000 subscribers, which we’re thrilled about. But then there’s the other side of the coin, which we’re not so thrilled about: For the first time, less than 10 percent of our subscribers are paying, which is not good.
If you’re new to The Border Chronicle, let us introduce ourselves: we’re Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller, a pair of journalists who have been writing about the U.S.-Mexico border for two decades. We’re based in Tucson, Arizona. And continuing our radical transparency about where we’re at financially, we currently generate about $43,000 a year from paid subscriptions—not nearly enough for two journalists to make a living. Or to pay Hannah, our audio editor, and Pablo, our text editor, each month.
In the last two years, one thing we’ve discovered is that we’re good at doing the work, and we enjoy it. Since September 2021, we have posted every week without fail—so far, that’s more than 156 articles, podcasts, and discussion threads. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll have fresh border reporting and analysis from us, whether Todd is on the ground in the Maasai Mara in Kenya or Melissa’s in Chihuahua City writing about threats to Mexican journalists. We’ve also done speaking engagements about migration, climate change, border journalism, and The Border Chronicle in Montreal, Canada, and most recently at Chapman University in California. Oh, and Todd got hissed at during a debate over border walls at Yale.
From our base in Tucson, we cover not only the entire U.S.-Mexico border but also global borders. Recently, Melissa took a position as an investigations editor with Lighthouse Reports, a European outlet that is doing groundbreaking reporting on borders around the world. She will continue writing about far-right, anti-immigrant groups that are spurring violence in border communities and will be helping them roll out new investigations on the U.S.-Mexico border, and she is excited to share that work with you here in The Border Chronicle.
Todd is working on a book about water and climate change in Chihuahua, Mexico, and is increasingly spending more time in northern Mexico. He’s already begun posting some of his reporting from Chihuahua, and you’ll be the first to receive new posts at The Border Chronicle as Todd continues his reporting.
We’re proud that our reader and listener base is growing. We also have a podcast! (You can find it on our Substack, or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.) We want to continue to grow and provide access to The Border Chronicle with as few paywalls as possible. Ultimately, we’d love to have no paywalls at all.
This brings us to the other discovery we’ve made in the last two years: we are terrible at fundraising and at asking you to pay for a subscription, which is the reason for today’s post. Please show your support for border journalism and The Border Chronicle today with a paid subscription. It’s just $6 a month or $60 annually—a deal! Or become a founding member for $125 and get two additional paid annual subscriptions for friends and family (just send their email addresses to email@example.com and we will sign them up!)
If you’re a large group focused on border issues, consider a group subscription, which we offer at a steep 40 percent discount, or you can give your special someone a gift subscription to The Border Chronicle.
In short, there are many ways to support The Border Chronicle. And we hope you’ve found our reporting and podcasts worthy of your support. We currently have 656 paid subscribers, and our goal is to reach 1,000. (That’s just 344 more people!) Can you help us meet this goal? A subscription is just $6 a month or $60 a year — a deal!
For your paid subscription, you’ll have access to our archive and to our very popular discussion threads with invited border experts, where you can pose questions and participate in the discussion. We’re planning an upcoming discussion on climate change and water scarcity in northern Mexico later this month, which will be hosted by Todd.
We’re thankful for your support and for reading (and listening to) The Border Chronicle. We couldn’t do this without you! We’d also love to hear from you. What would you like to see more of in The Border Chronicle? What keeps you coming back? Drop us a line and let us know what’s on your mind. We appreciate ya!
Abrazos desde Tucson,
Melissa & Todd
The Border Chronicle is 100 % reader-supported. Subscribe today and support border journalism for $6 a month or $60 a year.
Sharing Border Chronicle stories and interviews (and giving you full credit) on Gila Mimbres Community Radio - KURU , Silver City, New Mexico. Thank you for keeping us informed, inspired and aware, and imaging a better world. Stay safe!! Carry on. (Just upped my subscription. ) Maree
i have a paid subscription and gifted another. will you be sending a reminder for renewal?
also, i suggest you could investigate and report on health related issues on the border including the binational governmental coordination/collaboration of public health concerns, academic research, cbo's/ngo's, cross-border health insurance, etc.