I’ve been extremely honored to serve as the interim editor-in-chief at Street Sense these past three months. I did not take the position on lightly. I know how important this paper is to many people, not just our vendors, but everyone who is affected by the stories we report. I want only the best for Street Sense, and I was determined to find that in our next editor-in-chief.
I did not expect my colleagues to turn around and suggest I might be that person. While I am confident in the work I’ve done at Street Sense, I’m keenly aware I’m still learning. I want to be honest with you all — it took me a while to decide whether or nor to take the job. It’s not that I didn’t want it or see myself as part of Street Sense’s future. But I wanted to be sure that was the right decision for Street Sense. Thanks to the support and encouragement of the many, many people who read, write and care about the paper, I’ve decided to stay on permanently.
If this lengthy note is the first time we’ve met — hi! I’m Annemarie. I’m from Oklahoma and went to college in D.C. I first worked with Street Sense in 2020, was hired as a staff reporter in 2022 and have been running things since October. I’ve known for several years I’d like to be an editor at a local publication and I’m so excited I get to do that here.
When I first wrote to you all this fall about Street Sense’s search for a new editor-in-chief, I asked for grace. I’ve received it tenfold, so I feel a bit guilty asking for more, but the transition period isn’t over yet. We’ll be hiring a deputy editor soon (let me know if you’re interested) and making big plans for the new year.
Street Sense is up against a lot, between layoffs, going back to biweekly and the general struggle to survive as a print paper. My goal is to build an editorial department that can rise to meet those challenges.
In the next few months, we’ll be launching a survey to learn what we can do to improve. I’m hoping to publish more original content, increase our social media reach and reboot the Homeless Crisis Reporting Project. In the long term, I’ll work to make Street Sense more sustainable, whether that means growing the staff, paying interns or both. I want to involve vendors in all parts of the paper, from writing, to design, to editing, to eventually working as full-time staff.
These ideas are not mine, but the product of many conversations with vendors, customers and staff. And there are conversations that I want to keep having. Please let me know if you have ideas you want to share, and if you can, donate to Street Sense to help us achieve these goals.
I did not have the 2023 I expected. I’m sure some of you feel the same. But I know that we can make 2024 a transformational, caring and vibrant year together.