A few answers to a few of your questions about the end of AOA

AOA cards closeup

We have been overwhelmed by the response to our announcement last week that AOA will be ending December 31. Thank you to everyone who's posted a comment, sent us a note, or talked with us in person. We're tremendously grateful for all the support.

Many of you have had questions about why this is happening, whether there's a way to keep the site going, or what's next.

So we've pulled together a handful of the most common questions with a few answers. We hope they're helpful.

And, again, thank you.

Will the AOA archives stay online?

They will! We will be keeping the site up for the foreseeable future.

That said, nothing lasts forever, especially online. So we were happy to learn that archivists at UAlbany have been crawling the site in order to add to AOA's record at the Wayback Machine.

Why?

We touched on this topic in last week's announcement, and there's not a whole lot more to say beyond this: AOA is essentially a tandem bike and we've been pedaling to keep it going for a long time now. The last few years the road has felt mostly uphill.

Much of that has to do with the fact that AOA is, at its core, just the two of the us. And that's by design. We've been very careful about expenses and that's allowed us to keep things going. But it's also meant that pretty much every job related to AOA has fallen on one or both of us: all the stuff that shows up on the site along with all the things that go on behind the scenes, like ad sales and accounting and event planning and fixing the virtual machinery that allows AOA to actually be on the internet.

Added together, it's a lot. And that's OK. There's nothing to say this should be easy, and we're not complaining. This has been an amazing experience. But it's time for a break.

Is this about money? What if you had more money?

The short answer: No, not really. We've been bringing in enough revenue to keep things going.

The somewhat longer answer: No, not really. We've been bringing in enough revenue to keep things going. But the world being the way it is, if someone were to drop (very large amount of money) on us, sure, that might have changed things. The reason would have simply been that we could have turned that money into more resources and help.

But presuming that the person dropping (very large amount of money) would, at some point, be looking for a return on that money, there's the question of whether AOA would have been financially viable at that bigger staff size. It's very possible it could be! But we don't know that. And a lot of media outlets have been finding out in the last few years -- especially those that were floated on a pool of venture capital -- that they were not.

What about subscriptions?

Subscriptions are a good idea. Any viable model for local news will probably have to involve them in the future. But if you've ever spent time working with an organization that relies on subscriptions or pledges or donations, you know that it requires a whole arm of the org to manage and keep going.

Still, it is a good idea. If we were at a different point in this whole process, it's something we would have given serious thought to. And we very much appreciate all the people who have said they would be willing to be a subscriber.

Would you be willing to hand over the site someone else?

While we greatly appreciate the fact that people would like to see AOA continue on, it'd be hard to hand the site over to someone else.

What are you doing next?

Mary: I'm open to suggestions. One of the lessons I've learned working on AOA is that what looks like a hurdle can also be an opportunity. It depends entirely on how it's framed. I'm trying to frame it so that it looks like a world of possibility. Whatever I do, I hope it's something that matters and that makes life better for people. Hopefully it won't involve a drive-thru window.

Greg: A short break is up first, and then it's on to whatever is next. I've learned so much about this place over the last decade and I'm eager to find a way to put that knowledge to good use. If you have ideas, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Comments

I left Albany almost 25 years ago,and AOA was my connection to a place in which I loved living. I already feel the hole. Best of luck to you both, and thank you for your work.

you guys were my oasis when I was wearing down on my time in Albany (2000-2009). When I left, I couldn't stop reading the site -daily - for maybe 1-2 years. I stopped and learned to tolerate/love my new home, but I would still check in and be awed by what you were still producing! I will miss you.

What about the both of you putting AOA on t.v., or my house, TA-DA!
I like to cook & you both are like my long lost niece & nephew anyway.

Thanks for his post, and just wanted to say how much I'm going to miss AOA. I deeply appreciate all the work you've done.

Your site, your contributions, and your outlook on the area (and life!) will be sorely missed. Best of luck in whatever you do next, it will no doubt be great!

Just wanted to say good luck with whatever you guys do next. I've stumbled across so many interesting restaurants, events, concerts, movies, and other things from reading AOA that I otherwise would have never heard of. Thanks for all you've done to help promote this area.

AOA contributed to the quality of life in Albany and it can't be replaced for the foreseeable future. Best wishes to you both and thank you for making this area better while you did!

Since you guys are going away, are there any sites you recommend to help fill the void?

Thank you guys for doing this as long as you have. We would love to welcome you to the Hudson Mohawk Magazine team when/if you're interested in bringing more news and public affairs to the region.

It's a remarkable group of volunteer radio producers, show hosts, sound engineers, etc. Your skills and knowledge would be a meaningful contribution to the group and you could just contribute what you want to contribute.

I’m still in shock about the news. AOA has been the first stop for me several times a week, if not daily. It’s difficult to imagine losing this incredible local resource or what I and the rest of us will do without you to tell The Who, what, where, when, and why of Albany and the local region. I wish you all the success you could want on your next adventure.

THIS is part of why I love AOA. We ask questions, and you actually answer them. Thank you.

Will love and miss you guys, but know/hope we will see you and your work out in the world. Since the news broke so many friends and family have shared with me how much you have meant to them! Hope you feel all the love.

Greg--three people (who I dont think know each other) have told me that your coverage of zoning issues is going to be missed. 'He's the only one who gets it.' Hope you continue to educate us masses!!!

Thank you for helping me feel connected with the community. I'll miss AOA. All the best to you in your future endeavors, whatever they may be.

Guys, I literally do not know what I am going to do without you. What's happening this weekend? Did that thing pass the BZA? What's up with that building on Madison? You literally answer all those questions for me in comprehensive, well crafted ways. You're great writers and somehow know exactly what I want to read. If you did subscriptions I'd subscribe in an instant. I have been pretending this is not happening for awhile. Now as the end really approaches I am stress-eating Christmas candy and trying to figure out if I can somehow divine quality local news stuff from the TU. Ugh. Please come back.

Goodbye AOA. You will be missed.

I'm so going to miss you guys. My life was more involved and enjoyable because of the work you did. I am going to have to print out Greg's recipe for apple crumble (crisp) before I can't find it again!

A huge loss for the capital region. Thanks for all the years of great reporting and the community you helped build, putting together this amazing resource. Good luck to you both in your next chapter!

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