Looks nice, huh? We’re pretty damn excited about the new design. But the relaunch is about much more than just a prettier website: we’ve rethought every aspect of Caracas Chronicles from the ground up. For a long time, Caracas Chronicles was, in its heart of hearts, a hobby – something we did for fun. The challenge for us is to keep it fun while, at the same time, scaling up our ambitions.

Because let’s face it: Venezuela in 2015 is no place for a hobbyist.

You’ll notice a lot of changes in the coming days, all of them amazing.

Some highlights:

  • New Faces: We’re determined to bring you amazing new writers able to make sense of Venezuela. Over 115 of you have already applied to freelance for us, and starting tomorrow you’ll start to see some of the amazing talent that’s come forward. (If you’ve been putting it off, it’s not too late to come forward.)
  • More Spanish: Our reader survey showed what we’d suspected all along, casi todos Uds. leen español sin rollos. We’re still going to be a mostly English site, but look for more Spanish content too, including some of the very best writers about Venezuela active today.
  • Book Club: Our Contributing Editor Juan Cristobal Nagel is going to launch a new Caracas Chronicles based book club. Each month, he’ll pick a title relating to Venezuelan public life. We’ll read it together, and he’ll lead the discussion. The Caracas Chronicles Book Club is going to set the standard for depth of engagement in Venezuelan public life.
  • A Better Comments Experience: Comments are a huge part of the Caracas Chronicles user experience, but trolling and incivility – here as elsewhere – can be a problem. From now Once we’ve worked out the bugs on creating user accounts, we’ll be asking you to log in before you can comment, and we’ll be trying new approaches to making the best discussion platform on the Venezuelan internet even better.
  • Interactive National Assembly Forecasting Tool: We’ve partnered up with our friend @Econ_Vzla, who has a pretty good track record of calling election results, to bring you a nifty election results prediction tool to play around with. Check back with us mid-week!
  • Much more: Our project pipeline is bursting with great stuff. Innovative features, professional photos, infographics, podcasts, GoogleHangouts, Email Newsletters, and a long etc. We’ll be rolling these out in the coming weeks. They’ll be cool.

It’s been an intense few weeks of work to bring you all this. In particular, we’ve put a lot of work into crafting business plan that allows us to pay for all this cool new stuff in a way that’s consistent with our values as a company. We want everyone to have free access to our blog, but we don’t want to rely on a monetization model that puts too much emphasis on sheer page-view numbers: nobody needs LaPatilla in English.

So how do we square that circle?

The answer is in your hands.

Think about it: Caracas Chronicles has always been about its incredibly vibrant, uniquely engaged reader community. This is a place you come to not just to read passively but to actively engage with people just as obsessed with Venezuelan public life as you are. In a way, we’ve always relied on you to keep us going; it’s just that from now on we’re relying on you to keep us going that little bit more literally.

Take five minutes right now to set up a recurring donation to Caracas Chronicles. $5 a month. Or $10. $15 if you can afford it. It’s about what you’d pay for a newspaper subscription, and you know you get so much more out of CcsChron than you ever did a newspaper!

And in the days to come, we’re going to be rolling out a store selling cool new Caracas Chronicles merch, so you can literally wear your support for the blog on your sleeve.

This plan can work…but only if you take those five minutes right now to click through to PayPal and set up your recurring donation. So do it now!

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.