Last week, we ran an appeal to readers as part of our recent campaign to attract donor/members to help support the continuing work of the Houston Press.
It caught the eye of Shea Serrano, a former freelancer for us, more commonly known these days as the New York Times best-selling author of The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things) and other books as well as a writer for The Ringer and Grantland.
Noting that he got his start with the Press in 2008 when we took a chance on him as an untested freelancer, Shea appealed to his fans to help keep our publication going. “The place that I learned how to be a writer was the Houston Press,” Serrano wrote. He told his followers how former Press music editor Chris Gray and I worked with him as a young up-and-comer, helping him learn the fundamentals of writing and reporting.
His followers responded. Magnificently.
In one day, Serrano who spent years as a teacher and writer in Houston before recently moving to his birthplace of San Antonio, raised a total of $31,000 for the Press — including a $4,999 donation from himself and wife, Larami.
He wired the money to our bank account the next morning and we remain extremely grateful to Shea and his followers, as much for the sentiments behind his fundraiser as for the money itself. It's not that often that someone looks back with gratitude on the place and the people who gave him his start.
By the way, in the following days, Serrano went on to raise $100,000 for the San Antonio Food Bank.
We have far fewer resources at the Press than we did in the days when Shea was cutting his teeth. But we still work hard to find and develop local writers, and we still care deeply about telling the stories of this city. The money our old friend raised will go a long way toward helping us continue to do that.
If you'd like to join the our donor/member effort, here's a link to the membership page of our website. We hope that you will agree with Shea Serrano that an independent media voice in Houston is important and worth your support.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.