A short film about our launch from Watch Frontier on Vimeo.

Yes, we made it. 711 is the number of stories The Frontier staff has written since we went live with our local investigative news website a little over a year ago.

And what a time it has been.

Our ad-free membership model, which debuted Aug. 3, 2015, is working. Along the way our staff has won a handful of unexpected awards but that’s not why we started The Frontier.

We believe every community needs a team of journalists who are not beholden to any advertiser or political party. So the idea is to focus on stories that improve our community, while advocating for open records and transparency.

Investigative journalism helps democratic societies work transparently. When investigations work, they reveal corruption, waste, systems that fail those who need them most and other obstacles that hinder a community’s development.

But investigative journalism is expensive and the ad model that traditionally funds this work is broken.

Our model is supported by readers who believe in the importance of our investigations and future investigations. We are not replacing the newspaper model. We are focusing on one area that newspapers used to own fearlessly.

The days of free, quality content supported by advertising are numbered. We as a society have to decide whether we need trained journalists keeping us informed and holding people in power accountable.

The Frontier doesn’t track its impact by the number of eyeballs or clicks our website draws. While we all enjoy a good viral story or video now and then, we don’t believe quality journalism can be judged based solely on such metrics.

We are more interested in readers committed to supporting quality journalism in our community. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception in our first year and we’re hoping to show more of you what this model of journalism can do for your lives and the community in the future.

But we don’t need to be large to have an impact. Our small team is relentless and fearless in exposing public corruption through tips and open records.

The Frontier’s ongoing investigation into problems at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office has had an impact. We’ll continue pressing officials there and elsewhere to abide by their duty to the public.

Our community will be better for it, especially when our public officials are truly transparent. In the meantime, we’re working on new investigations and stories you’ll hear about soon.

Finally, I want to thank our members and sponsors. Without them there is no Frontier.

I’d also like to thank my staff of fearless journalists who helped start The Frontier: Ziva Branstetter, Cary Aspinwall, Kevin Canfield and Dylan Goforth as well as our newest staff member, Kassie McClung.

Along with them, I share in the same passion for quality investigative stories that make a difference in our community. Please support our mission and become a member of The Frontier.

We are just beginning.