After 10 years, TODO Austin is becoming a digital brand —
September 27, 2020

After 10 years, TODO Austin is becoming a digital brand

By Gavin Garcia

This issue marks the completion of 10 years of TODO Austin’s publication. After a decade of monthly production of newsprint, the journal will be available online via a new portal beginning next month.

Co-founder Dave McClinton and I put out the first issue of TODO Austin in May, 2009, with a mission to focus on the city’s growing multicultural community. Dave and I were introduced by a mutual friend, the Austin Chronicle’s Louis Black, and with a production assist by Mark Gates we began our collaboration. Louis has sparked countless creative ventures in his lifetime and Dave and I are most grateful to him and Chronicle publisher Nick Barbaro for their support. Where injustice has reared its head in a city with an ugly history of discrimination, Louis and Nick have met the challenge. TODO Austin is just another example of their singular legacy.

In 118 issues of newsprint (10 issues in the first volume, and monthly thereafter), we’ve endeavored to provide a multicultural medium for all of Austin. The free tabloid was circulated across the city with an editorial objective to use advocacy journalism and mirror the changing demographics of Austin. As a niche publication, we were able to portray positive aspects of a city that is majority-minority while addressing false perceptions of cultural harmony.

Dave and I, with Editor Lesly Reynaga and Managing Editor/Web Editor Merideth Cox, were joined in our task by hundreds of editorial collaborators whose optimism and encouragement kept us on track every four weeks for a decade. TODO Austin’s advertisers, likewise, echoed that same commitment, making room in their tight budgets for minority-owned media. Locally-owned businesses made up our distribution points and found space on their crowded shelves for our stacks. Our printing houses also accommodated us at every turn. We’re grateful for everyone’s service and thank you for inspiring our collective project.

Although TODO Austin is ceasing use of ink and wood pulp with this last print publication, it isn’t going away. In the modern news era, it’s common knowledge that consumers’ turn to the internet and electronic media and that’s where you’ll find us next month. Our decision will allow us to operate more efficiently and target increased readership and stronger ties to the community. We’ll be very much alive in the online world, publishing a free magazine associated with a 24/7 website focused on equity, diversity and inclusion.

We’ll continue to reflect on this era of social change, giving voice to the underserved population in our evolving city while taking a sharper look at the creative cultural divide. Despite Austin’s reputation of being a progressive city, access for all communities to a high quality-of-life and conversations about bias and prejudice are required, more than ever, and TODO Austin will strive to make its presence felt.

After 10 years of newsprint, TODO Austin will officially become a digital brand in May. As we look toward the future, our aim will be to play a role in encouraging Austin’s progress, addressing its cultural vitality and lifestyle assets. Ethnic minority communities serve as an economic development opportunity for Austin. Although a disparity in allocation of resources still exists, continuing a local custom of resources being dispersed disproportionately, TODO Austin will continue to advocate for our diverse community and spotlight our multicultural heritage.

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