The start of something good:

This year will bring about significant change to this scrappy news source, and none of that election-campaign bullshit change that never came. I mean real change, a transformation that will build upon last year’s hard work, a year that was not without incident for El Tecolote’s anarchy-loving, fag-haggin’ family of closest communists. We went broke. We were reduced to a skeleton crew, after being forced to layoff several staff members, talented professionals who I’m lucky enough to have as friends.

But we bounced back with a Rocky-Balboa-like intensity.

The biggest change you’ll see is to our Web site, a sexy new gateway that’ll allow reporters, photographers and community members to post news in a variety of new-media formats. Expect it to launch in late February (unless the mythical concept known as “Latino time” holds true, then expect it to go live sometime in March). As for what this means for our print edition, don’t worry, even though dead-tree journalism seems to be approaching its twilight, we’re committed to the printed word. Our reasoning is simple: those on the other side of the digital divide (i.e. those that don’t use the Internet, Facebook or Twitter—the “iPhone-less”) cannot be ignored.

Instead, we’ll try our hardest to fill the paper with news that matters to readers that have to work for a living in order to be able to provide for their family and keep from being gentrified out of the Mission. It’ll be geared to Spanish speakers, a community whose options for local news are limited. NO stories involving skinny jeans, schnazzy cardigans, pillow-fight dance parties or reviews of yuppie eateries whose prices are out of reach to most working folk will run here—in other words, no hipster news.

I promise.

This year will also be a year of bridge building as we continue partnerships such as the one with UC Berkeley’s hyper-local news site, Mission Loc@l. You’ll find their print edition tucked within these pages. But the partnerships will only grow in number as we move towards reporting on different subjects and underserved communities.

(Admittedly, it’s going to be tough. We’re still poor and completely underequipped. But we will make it happen, even if I have to start an underground fight club to raise the capital.)

We’ve harnessed the hard work and dedication of our newest additions to El Tecolote. With the exception of some of our news veterans, who have assumed new and challenging roles, this tiny newspaper-that-could has new energetic blood coursing through it veins, myself included.

Our former graphic designer is now a copy editor tasked with making sure our Spanish-language offerings are flawless, a role he has flourished in. He translates, he copy edits, he keeps me and the rest of the crew grounded when our ideas and ambitions leave the realm of the what’s realistic.

Our photo editor, one of the newest additions to our inner circle, has met all the challenges that her job entails, along with the added pressure of having to take direction from me, and has earned the respect of the entire crew. As the year progresses, look for her to take on an even bigger role—going places, this girl.

The man’s a writer, a poet, and my Puerto Rican brother from another mother, El Tecolote’s Calendar Editor is also someone to marvel at. For decades, issue after issues, this man has kept readers up to date on community events, and he’ll be doing his thing for decades to come in print and online.

The ad man must be commended. He’s all business, and that single-mindedness has helped keep us, and will continue to keep us, from drowning in a sea of economic woes. The man’s also a damn good writer.

Lastly, I have to acknowledge the leader of our publisher, Accion Latina. She’s been working tirelessly for the past year making sure El Tecolote survives. This woman is the source of our scrappiness, and, in the short while I’ve known her, a person I’ve come to trust, respect and look to for advice.

These people, as well as a mini militia of reporters, photographers, copy editors and supporters, are El Tecolote. Linda, Rose, Andres, Bethy, Johnatan, Lian, Martha, Meredith, Nina, Sharah, Thomas, Greg, Katynka and many others shouldered last year’s endeavors and have made this year a possibility. Despite hectic work schedules, full-time class loads and other obligations, they produce. Week after week, they crank out the good stuff: immortal little snapshots of our neighborhood.
This year is going to be big. El Tecolote celebrates the big 4-0 bigger, better and shinier than ever.

Roberto Daza
Managing Editor