As we look back at 2021, we are filled with gratitude for the support that has enabled us to accomplish so much this year.
Just look at what our members, sponsors, and clients have made possible:
A well-informed community
We launched The Pulse in January, fulfilling a goal to create something that would equip Edmontonians to start their day knowing what was going on. This helped us speed up our metabolism, so to speak, from the weekly cadence of each of our roundups to a daily rhythm throughout the work week. We are much more of a news organization now than we were before — we published more than 1,000 stories this year, more than the combined output of the previous four years of Taproot’s existence.
We pulled off an ambitious plan to cover the 2021 municipal election in a useful and impactful way. As we said in our recap of the People’s Agenda project, 600+ hours led to a community-informed questionnaire that revealed the values and interests of the candidates and allowed thousands of voters to learn who they aligned with best. We continue to pull on that data for our journalism, both in our city council stories and the Speaking Municipally podcast, which surpassed 100,000 downloads this year.
In 2022, we will continue to pay attention to what’s going on in our city, both generally and through the lens of the beats that form the basis of our weekly roundups: tech, food, the region, health innovation, arts, and business. We will also strengthen our ability to pay attention to what our community wants to know more about, building on the lessons of the People’s Agenda and drawing on our roots as a place that satisfies the curiosity of the people we serve.
A robust business
Ambitious plans require resources. As a bootstrapped company, the bulk of our resources come from what we can sell, whether it’s services, sponsorships, or memberships. Our efforts have been rewarded (and reinvested in the company) this year, with a boost in revenues over 2020, despite the ongoing global pandemic.
Roundup title sponsors like Uproot Food Collective, Health Cities, and Alberta Innovates make a big difference in our ability to sustainably pay attention to what’s happening in our city. So do the other sponsors and advertisers who want this kind of work to exist while also seeking to reach the smartest, most engaged people in our community (that’s you).
We have been able to access some additional funding to grow. A $23,500 grant from the Investment Readiness Program helped us develop a plan to scale our briefings service, which uses the same technology and methodology we use to pay attention on the journalism side of the operation but is attuned to the particular information needs of a client organization. We’ll be executing that plan in 2022.
A strong team
Ambitious plans require people to make them happen, and that’s what we spend the vast majority of our resources on. This year, we’ve been able to pay three full-time staff, along with a number of part-timers and freelancers.
Most of that is thanks to the aforementioned bootstrapping, but the strength of the business has also allowed us to access funding from Venture for Canada, Canada Summer Jobs, the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), and Riipen to help some young people gain valuable experience while helping us do the work.
A contribution from a limited partner at Active Impact Investments was also helpful in enabling us to work with a number of students this year.
We’ve spent a lot of time this year figuring out how to best deploy our team and equip them with what they need to accomplish the mission of informing communities about themselves. That work never ends, and you’ll see continued evolution throughout next year.
We also know we won’t achieve what we’re here to do if we burn ourselves out. That’s why we took a break from our publishing schedule for a week in August, and it’s why The Pulse and our roundups will be on pause for the last two weeks of December. We’ll be back in your inbox and on the web starting Jan. 3.
Here’s how to help us do more
- Become a member: For just $10 a month or $100 a year, you can help us continue to make our journalism free for everyone to read or listen to.
- Become a sponsor: We do not plaster our website with pop-ups, but we do create opportunities for businesses and organizations to reach the best people through us.
- Learn more about our briefings service: If you or someone you know has an organization that needs help to stay informed and connected, let’s talk.
- Spread the word: If you’re a member, you have a referral link at the bottom of every newsletter we send. If you’re not a paying member but you love what Taproot does, you can still help by letting others know.
Many thanks to everyone who has helped us get here and will continue to lift us through 2022 and beyond!