Online journalism site Voice of San Diego turns to print to fundraise, showcase work


By Jessica Durkin

Nonprofit online news site Voice of San Diego is using an offline tactic to boost brand recognition and raise funds.

The investigative journalism outlet founded in 2004 has released “Our People, Our Places: A San Diego Photo Story”,  a first-run coffee table book showcasing the past four years of photographs taken by staff photographer and photo editor Sam Hodgson.

Hodgson said the 80-page book was conceptualized late last year as a way to expand the Voice of San Diego beyond the web.

Photo: Sam Hodgson, Voice of San Diego


“We decided we wanted something that would give new life to our content and something tangible to give to our donors,” Hodgson said. “We thought this was a good way to leave our donors with some of our content, and keep that alive as well.”

Photo: Sam Hodgson, Voice of San Diego

Hodgson said the collection, from 2007 to this spring, is assembled into a narrative about San Diego’s recent past and present in print form to put the site’s work in people’s hands.

“A book is something someone can stick on their coffee table and on their book shelf and they can continue to pull it out and remember these stories we thought were so impressive we published in the first place,” Hodgson said.

The first 21 pages of the book are viewable online. The book works in tandem with the site, referring readers to the full story behind the photo online.

“When we set out to do this, we didn’t set out to make a bunch of money off printing books,” Hodgson said. “It’s something we see as a membership benefit and a way to package our content. Most of these photos otherwise will sit in the depths of our website and the depths of our archives never to be seen except by me unless we bring them out.”

The organization hosted a book launch party last week and chronicled the event here; 150 first-run copies were printed and sell for $44.95 each; donors who contribute $250 or more to the news organization receive a signed copy.

Hodgson said the book is part of a larger Voice of San Diego reader engagement strategy that includes community forums and panel discussions.

To the BxB community: Are print projects in your marketing and fundraising strategy?

Jessica Durkin, Block by Block community manager,


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