We’re also working to increase the proportion of our funds that come directly from readers because that’s the ultimate sign of success - that people buy into what you’re doing and they’re willing to give you donations and help support it. That’s something I’m really hoping we can cultivate and develop. Last year, less than 10 percent of our budget came from reader donations. I’ll probably jinx myself, but on our current trajectory, I expect to easily exceed that this year. There’s also room to expand fundraising. We don’t do anything other than stick a donation envelope in the paper, so it’s a pretty low-key effort. Maybe we need to get more sophisticated. This year, we can take credit card donations and that’s supposed to help.

We don’t take ads right now. That could change in the future. But this goes back to why people don’t produce many environmental publications - they aren’t very attractive to advertisers.

One thing I should say—I am proud of this—is that our overhead is really low. Everybody works at home, so there is no office and our overhead is only about 6 or 7 percent of our budget. We print ten issues a year, with double issues in mid-summer and mid-winter. We did eleven issues for about three years, but I cut one and increased the number of pages in the others, so now we actually produce more per year, but we save on postage and stuff, and that helped free some resources to increase staffing. In a perfect world, I’d like to do twelve issues a year, but that requires a bit more manpower than we’ve got.

I’m just kind of happy with the trajectory that we’re on and that people take us seriously and consider us to be a credible source of information. I hope that we can do more in the future, and if we aren’t a model right now, I hope we to get there at some point.

Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.