Editor's Note

A few weeks ago the head of Digital First Media – the private equity-backed company that owns the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and most of the other daily papers in the Bay Area – announced the company was shuttering Project Thunderdome, a 50-person outfit that provided business, technology, health and other news to dozens of the company’s papers across the country.

The closure was reportedly part of Digital First’s plan to cut $100 million in expenses, and it prompted media analyst Ken Doctor to speculate that the sale of the company’s media properties may not be too far behind.

Thunderdome’s short life and the planned cuts at newspapers that have already endured more than a decade of them exemplify the challenges of providing the news that people want and need at a time when revenues aren’t rising fast enough to cover the cost of providing it. Digital First has scored some noteworthy successes in attracting digital ad revenue. But those have clearly not been enough to meet the needs of the company’s owners.

The Alamedan’s primary mission is to fill the ever-larger gaps in local Alameda news coverage, and we’re slowly expanding what we offer to accomplish it. For two years I have volunteered basically full-time to run this site and write much of the news that’s provided here, because I believe that our community needs to be informed to be engaged, and to thrive.

Being local means we can be responsive to readers’ needs, and this month we’ve begun following up on story suggestions readers made during our inaugural office hours sessions (stay tuned for this month’s hours and location). We’re also offering more breaking news – something readers have been asking us to do – and are launching some new blogs in the coming weeks on health, family and relationships and Alameda’s storied Little League. And the November elections – for which we’re preparing expanded coverage – are closer than you think.

Dozens of Alamedans have shown their support for our mission by contributing to our work, and with their generous support we have been able to expand our coverage beyond the daily posts we offered when we launched the site in 2012. For us to continue – and hopefully, continue to expand – we’re going to need the support of many more.

You can show your support for locally produced, local news by making a one-time or monthly contribution online or by sending a check to our fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives (with Alameda Community News Project in the register) at 354 Pine Street Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94104.

If you’re a business owner and would like to demonstrate your commitment to an informed and engaged community, you can sponsor The Alamedan.

This month, we’d like to offer our thanks to Tom Charron, Frank Martin and Dick Rudloff for their support. We hope you’ll join them on our supporters list.

Questions or suggestions can always be e-mailed to me at michele@thealamedan.org. Thank you for reading.

Got questions about the city's plans for Alameda Point? City Manager John Russo says he'll answer them, here on The Alamedan. You can e-mail your question to me at michele@thealamedan.org this week or just post it in a comment on the site, and I will pass it all along. In the meantime, you can scan all of our Alameda Point coverage here.

This is an exciting week for us here at The Alamedan: On Friday, we turn the corner on two years of providing you high-quality local news coverage and a voice in local affairs. I’d like to thank you for reading, and for your story ideas and support of our work.

To provide more of the news, explanatory reports and accountability journalism you want, we are going to need your help.

Are you interested in the future of Alameda Point? If so, we’ve scheduled a meetup where you can share your ideas on the Point with other like-minded souls.

The Alamedan’s Alameda Point meetup will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, January 31 at Blue Danube, which is on the corner of Park Street and Alameda Avenue. There’s no charge to come and share your thought on the Point, and Blue Danube has coffee, wine, sandwiches and treats available to purchase and enjoy.

The crew here at The Alamedan is looking forward to providing more of the news that matters to you in 2014, and we could use a little help doing that. We’re looking for a few good folks to help us broaden our coverage of the Island.

Specifically, we’re looking for freelance writers interested in keeping our readers abreast of local business and tech and to help us build our coverage of the 2014 elections. We’re also on the lookout for newshounds who can help us extend or coverage of big issues with local implications and overlooked local stories.

If you value the news and information The Alamedan serves up fresh every weekday, we hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help us keep it flowing.

The Alameda Food Bank has kicked off its annual turkey collection drive for the holidays at what promises to be yet another tough juncture for the Island’s poor and needy.

Is The Alamedan your indispensable news source? We're looking for a few good folks who are willing to let the world know by writing a brief testimonial describing why you value the work we do.

Testimonials will be included in the materials we're putting together for our brand-new sponsorship program, which will give local companies an opportunity to demonstrate their support for community journalism made right here in Alameda. So by offering one, you'll be helping The Alamedan remain the Island's go-to resource for news on Alameda Point, City Hall, schools and more.

If you’re a regular reader of The Alamedan, you may have noticed a change a few months back in the way we handle reader comments: We no longer require you to register to comment on the site. We made the change to better facilitate conversations about the issues we’re tackling, and so far, it looks like we’re achieving that goal.

One other change we’ll be making, effective today: The Alamedan will no longer publish anonymous comments.