Wow. As we finish the final week of our campaign (it ends Saturday afternoon!), we are zooming past the target of $5,000.
It’s time to focus on expanding our community and giving everyone a chance to support this campaign.
Share this project far and wide. We want...
That's why, for our final few days, we're embracing the $1 donation.
To show how excited we are about everybody getting involved with this, we've come up with an expanded list of hilariously personalized things we will actually do for you if you pledge $1 (or more).
The more people that are a part of Portland Afoot's next phase, the more will feel like they've got a stake in it, and the bigger a kick our sweet digital magazine will get when it launches. Be part of that. Help us cross the finish line in style, with the wind at our back and/or a daypass in our pocket.
Finally, just to prove our excitement about every single one of our incredible backers for this project, we're going to make a huge chalk mural of a floating electric hover bus (the public transit of the future) drawn entirely with the names of our Kickstarter backers.
Hop on this bus with your friends. Share our story.
And thank you so much for being part of it.
For millennia, Portlanders have yearned for reliable, funny, useful information about the best places to sit on the MAX when it's cold, the best neighborhoods to live in Portland without a car, the local government decisions that affect their commutes and the best places in town to fix their bikes.
Also for millennia, readers of Portland Afoot, PDX's 10-minute newsmagazine and online guide to low-car life, have yearned for more convenient ways to read it, to avoid worrying about keeping their subscriptions up to date, and to be able to instantly share our most important and useful features with each other.
With your help, we can crack that case. If you want it, we're going to build a free 10-minute newsmagazine for your mobile about low-car life in Portland.
To get what we're up to, you've really gotta check out the awesome video above.
What it'll look like
Just as our current magazine is customized from start to finish to be read on paper, we'll design this mobile magazine from the ground up to be read on a smartphone screen, with delicious graphical information that unfurls gradually as you scroll.
Most news apps are built from blocks of text, usually with a single photo or video hovering above each story. But this app will be different: it's a newsmagazine. Just like the pages of a well-designed print monthly, it'll deliver small doses of meticulously arranged information with a dollop of humor and two teaspoons of beauty.
To keep costs low, this app will also be dead simple: just a series of image files, really. No flashy gizmos (yet) except 10 minutes of content each month; links to the web, to let you dig deeper; and social media links, to share an issue with your friends. Once a month, you'll get an alert that a new issue has arrived, and that'll make you happy.
Why we want to do it
To make Portland Afoot and the people who read it stronger, better and more influential.
Portland Afoot has come a long way in two years. But to increase our impact on low-car life in Portland and to stay in business, we have to keep growing -- and there's a limit to the number of Portlanders willing to subscribe to a fun little publication about low-car life that they've never seen, even for just $14 a year.
But we have to charge $14 a year, because each additional print copy of Portland Afoot costs about 70 cents to produce and distribute. This also takes a lot of our staff time -- and the bigger we get, the more it takes. Digital distribution would change all that. Servers and downloads aren't free, but they're far cheaper -- cheap enough, we think, to support this on ads, grants and donations alone, just like a website. Digital news gets to readers faster. Digital news is easier to share, so it makes its way more efficiently to the people who find it most valuable and the ones most motivated to act on it. Digital distribution is more powerful and more democratic than print distribution.
We also think Portland Afoot only works if it's a joy to receive and read. Blog posts and feed updates are useful and addictive, but they're not really joyful. The update of this app each month, like the arrival of a magazine, will be a special event.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this work on both Android and iPhone? Yep.
Other platforms? We wish! Someday.
Why smartphones? Because smartphones are as close as we're going to get to the universal connections of the future. Compared to any other kind of computer, smartphones are cheap and getting cheaper. Smartphones serve rich and poor alike. People of color are more likely to own a smartphone than non-Hispanic whites, in part because smartphones are so wildly popular among young people.
Also because everybody reads their smartphones on the train. Like, duh.
Would Portland Afoot's print product go away? Probably. Maybe. It depends. And not immediately. We've got a lot of balls in the air, and this may depend on what our partners want. The bottom line is that we don't currently have enough funding to pay Michael to create both a high-quality digital and a high-quality print edition every month, and we think digital options are good enough now that a digital edition is better (see above). We might still do a print edition four times a year, or maybe two. If we ever stop monthly print/email publication, we'd send a pro-rated refund to every paying subscriber who wants one. One thing's certain: monthly print publication would continue at least until both iPhone and Android apps are ready.
Will I be able to read it on a tablet? We hope so. Tablets rock, and their prices are falling fast. But for now, the tablet experience will basically just be a bigger version of the phone experience. Just as we've specialized in paper so far, we want to specialize in phone-size screens for our next phase.
Are my contributions tax-deductible? In most cases! Though all revenue from this will go to the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that publishes Portland Afoot, you can't count the value of any ad or subscription you receive as part of the value of your donation. Rule of thumb: the advertising rewards aren't tax-deductible, and if you're getting a subscription as part of the reward, you're allowed to deduct the amount you give minus $14.
We'll send you a receipt afterwards with the exact deductibility.
When do I get my rewards? We'll get most of these things to you pretty soon -- subscriptions in time for the September issue, goodie bags and PDF instruction sheet by Oct. 1, $100 rewards by Nov. 1, ads by the month mentioned. In most cases, the delivery date is listed as July 2013 because we need to send you a link to the apps, and that's when we're absolutely sure we'll have them finished.
Video created by Joshua Force, Becca Priddy and Michael Andersen with concept and counsel from Sarah Mirk. Music generously licensed by Subpar Co-Star. Michael and Josh wrote most of the text, Becca took most of the photos, and Becca and Josh did the editing. Voiceover by Lillian Karabaic and Joshua Force; recording equipment loaned by Bret Bernhoft. Most of the great photos from our back issues are by Michael Schoenholtz. Image of "America's Bicycle Capital" mural by its creators at Pedal Bike Tours. Image of Rose City Rollers by Michael Schwern. Music in "home stretch" video by Halloween: "Monster on Campus" (Creative Commons).
Featuring almost 100 wonderful Portlanders as themselves. Among them, in order of appearance:
Brian K. Smith, Michael Andersen, Cora Potter, Joshua Force, Carrie Schmid and Charles Gee
Mary Anne Cassin
Kim Dubois Harrison
and just about everybody involved with OPAL.
What are you waiting for?
Send this link around! We can't make all this great stuff happen unless you do!
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