Member Spotlight - The Rivard Report
I’ve had one foot in print, the other in digital ever since the newspaper launched a website in the 1990s. Now both feet are in the same virtual place and it feels like I’ve slipped the bounds of gravity. With each passing year, print matters less and digital matters more. As a baby boomer, I still appreciate print, but spend less and less time with it. The Rivard Report is a startup. The price of entry is far less than it was a decade ago and more and more tools and programs come online each year. The audience we are serving, especially the young creative class, do not read print and wouldn’t read a newspaper even if it were delivered for free.
You encourage readers to submit articles for
publication on The Rivard Report. Are there any particular topics you would
like to see covered?
A differentiating factor of The Rivard Report from other local media, we think, is our willingness to give the reader center stage and say, in so many words, “What you have to say is just as important as what we have to say.” Instead of being limited to the Comments section, contributors can see their work highlighted under their byline with their photo, all professionally edited and displayed. That’s very empowering. It’s created a bond of trust between The Rivard Report and our audience because people see us giving voice to individuals who might hold different viewpoints. All we ask is that people focus on topics germane to our site’s mission, and that they respect viewpoints different than their own. Same with our Comments policy. Other websites are infected with trolls and all kinds of anonymous, hostile expression. We don’t allow that. It’s really created a much more welcoming environment for people who otherwise might hesitate to share their views or write for publication. There is a desire out there for intelligent discourse in an otherwise very noisy media environment dominated by crime, wrecks and celebrity.
From your perspective, how has downtown evolved over the years?
When we moved to San Antonio in 1989 it was a great walking downtown with an early 20th century feel: The River Walk in early morning when only workers and maintenance barges are around. Paris Hatters, Shilo’s, the old Esquire, lots of great local stores and stops. But much was missing: You had to go to a French restaurant to get a good cup of coffee. Riding a bike down Broadway was a death-defying act. HemisFair Park was a dead zone. No one was thinking and talking about profound transformation. Today, everything seems different. Almost by the day, San Antonio is becoming a more vibrant and welcoming place to live and work for locals and not simply a great place for tourists and conventioneers. Chef Bruce Auden was all by himself downtown once. Now with the culinary revolution at the Pearl, the growing scene in Southtown, the placemaking conversations, the coming rebirth of HemisFair Park, the SA202 initiative – it’s a great time to be in San Antonio, We’re all part of something very big in its very early stages.
Of all of the projects currently slated for downtown, which ones in particular do you think should be on the front burner?
Getting HemisFair Park right is critically important. So is reaching higher than we now reach in the Alamo Plaza. We have to move beyond the carney atmosphere and find a way to tell the story of our early city’s first Spanish mission, connecting it to the other Missions and the San Antonio River. Making sure the streetcar lines are set to maximize economic development rather than political expectations also matters. We’ve taken so many progressive steps, be it B-Cycles, recycling programs, etc., we have to adopt best practices as quickly as possible. We have to forge a new approach to long abandoned downtown buildings, big and small. Absentee owners need to fix them, fill them or sell them. Sitting on them year after year as they add to downtown blight is not in our collective interest. Finally, we have to stay focused on improving public education in the inner city, from Mayor Castro’s early childhood Brainpower Initiative through intensifying efforts to elevate the San Antonio Independent School District to Recognized status in the state. That’s an enormously difficult, enormously important undertaking, the linchpin, perhaps, to all these other endeavors coming together to make San Antonio a 21st century model city.
What do you think is the future of our center city?
Our future has no boundaries.
Downtown San Antonio can be a national, even international model if public and
private investment is done smartly. One good project will lead to the next and
the next. The excellence in public leadership now visible in San Antonio,
coupled with the willingness of some leaders in the business community to
invest in change is a powerful alliance if it can be maintained and
Is there anything in particular that you would like people to know about The Rivard Report?
We believe we are the right new digital media for a changing San Antonio, and that we can connect the growing number of people, organizations, institutions and companies that share a commitment to transforming the city. We also believe we can serve to accelerate the business success of everyone engaged in that development and transformation. So whether you are involved in building better schools, developing new residential properties, operating a restaurant or other small business, or trying to attract young, educated workers to your company, big or small, we think we can be part of the solution. We need support. We need readership, we need people who contribute, we need advertising, and we need sponsorship so we can grow. We also love living and working in San Antonio and we think that shows in the work we do. That makes The Rivard Report a good investment.
What prompted you to become a Downtown Alliance member?
The Downtown Alliance is a great bridge connecting people and entities in San Antonio and we wanted to be part of that network. The Downtown Alliance is a key player and stakeholder in the center city’s transformation. We appreciate the support they give a startup like The Rivard Report, and want in any small way we can to reciprocate.