Discover more from Arizona Agenda
The Agenda is hiring! … Rachel who? ... And please hit us up if you can make some Arizona politics trading cards.
Last week, we said goodbye to our friend, the cofounder of this newsletter and the more reliable half of the Arizona Agenda team, Rachel Leingang.
The Agenda was Rachel’s idea, mostly. She flagged the Substack Local program that helped us launchand brought a vital half of the vision to this publication.
The Agenda’s agenda has always been to help the average voter understand what’s happening behind the scenes in Arizona politics and how the government works so they can make informed decisions and hold their leaders to account. And, of course, to highlight just how bizarre and fascinating the insular world of Arizona politics is, if you understand what you’re looking at.
We’re a political insider publication for the political outsider.
Rachel was the outsider half of that equation. She made sure that the Agenda didn’t become just another navel-gazing political gossip rag, and instead remained accessible, understandable and vital to people who don’t live at 1700 W. Washington.
She also wrote 60% of the words and carried 85% of the administrative workload.
Needless to say, she will be missed. Without her initiative and vision, the Agenda would have never been born. And without her organizational skills and drive, it never would have survived beyond the first year.
But Rachel has always been open about her long-term plans. We knew this was coming and we’ve already gone through all the stages of grief. We’re ready to move on and introduce you to our new colleague.
But that’s easier said than done.
You see, dear reader, we had a plan in place for this day. It was a good plan. We had a fantastic candidate all lined up. We had nailed down all the hiring details. We were all ready to sign the final paperwork and make it official to announce. And then, through nobody’s fault, circumstances changed and that plan fell apart at the last minute. That’s life!
Luckily, we’ve been building up the Agenda universe so that if something like this happened, we’d be covered.
So here’s the new plan: The Arizona Agenda is hiring.
Bringing a new person into a small startup organization is a huge decision, and we’re not going to rush it. 2024 is going to be a big year. We want to ensure we have the right people in place to dig up and tell the stories that matter to you.
Rachel had a lot of titles around here, and “kickass reporter” was just one of them.
Some of her jobs have already been filled by the additional help we’ve brought in or beefed up since she went on leave in May. Our old Arizona Capitol Times colleague, Tracy Townsend, is copy editing our emails, for example, and the amazingly efficient BC Creative is helping with administration, customer serviceand project management. And we’ve had help from countless others who want to see us succeed.
After two months of writing the Tucson Agenda, Caitlin Schmidt and Curt Prendergast have the daily newsletter rhythm down. They’re professional “kickass reporters,” and they’ve taken to the newsletter format like fish freed from the stagnant, polluted ponds of corporate newspapers.
And now that they’ve got their newsletter legs, we’re tweaking our workflow to minimize redundancies with the Arizona and Tucson agendas and form a more perfect union.
The goal has always been to evolve into a statewide newsroom with reporters closely watching their own communities — not to create a few individual, siloed newsletters. Now is a good chance to explore what that looks like as we prepare to add another crucial member to our employee-owned newsroom ahead of a presidential election year.
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In the meantime, not immediately hiring a new employee frees up a chunk of money for freelancers!
We’re mostly looking for journalistic pieces, especially creative explainers. Scoops are good, as is any public records-based reporting. We always like a thoughtful profile and a fun Q&A, and we will even run the occasional book review or a personal account of binge-watching 16 hours of political commercials. We’re open to lots of ideas!
We’d also love to pay some artists, musicians, podcasters, social media gurus or anyone who has a unique take on how to present the world of Arizona politics to our readers. We’d like to create more zines or a comic book. And we have always dreamed of creating Arizona politics trading cards!
We’re teaming up with other newsletters. You saw some of that this month with introductions to other local Substackers, but we’re hoping to collaborate on joint projects with some when it makes sense and highlight their stories and share their work.
We’re also soliciting a selection of opinion pieces to bring in new voices examining politics and government from outside the political bubble. And we want to bring in some political insiders to give you the lowdown on what’s coming up and what it all means — or just how to better navigate government.
Get in touch if you have a scoop, a story, a perspective or expertise to share!
As we start revising our About Page to reflect all the exciting changes this year has brought, we’re rethinking our formats, features and publishing schedules.
The true joy of this job, and of reading this publication, is that we can do journalism in a way that feels fun, innovative, authentic and relevant for the moment.
We’re having a running conversation with a dedicated audience where we can all filter out the noise for a few minutes per day and cut through the crap to help each other understand what’s important. We never want that conversation to get stale.
While that mission of holding power to account and explaining the wild world of Arizona politics will never change, how we do that should be constantly revisited.
So, send us your thoughts! We love hearing your tips and suggestions about what the Agenda should cover and your ideas of how we can grow and evolve.
Losing Rachel is a bummer. But it’s also an exciting moment for her and for the Agenda.
New babies! New newsletters! New voices! New ideas! New blood! All in time for a new presidential election.
Stick around! We’ve got a lot more brewing.
Rachel initially suggested Hank apply for the advance to start his own newsletter, but Hank was smart enough to demand she join the endeavor.
And if you don’t know what’s at 1700 W. Washington, we’re talking about you.
If Hank had to answer every email that came in, he’d never write the email y’all are paying for.