Our community needs a responsible news source
I want to immediately thank everyone I’ve heard from today for showing your support of my resignation, and my future endeavors. It’s more than I expected, and is very heartening. I’m going to do my best to see that it is warranted.
Thank you to everyone who has offered to donate to a fundraiser or subscribe to a paid Substack letter, but I believe it will be unnecessary. I’ve always worked for my money, and that won’t change as long as I have the opportunity and ability. I already had a 2nd job that has offered me increased hours, and I have a small savings (and a new stimulus check) that will help me pay my bills as I adjust.
There is something I’d like you to save your donations for, though.
The advertising-based model for journalism has been failing for a long time. Social media, and the internet in general, has garnered the majority of advertising, leaving little left for local newspapers, radio and television. Further, non-local management of many of these entities has shown disinterest in modernizing or reinvesting in news media. In turn, as they are able to deliver less and lower-quality content, fewer people show interest in subscribing or advertising, and the cycle becomes a death spiral. The local media giants of yesterday are withered to the bone.
So it’s time for a new model of community journalism. I’m not a pioneer of the non-profit model of journalism. They are popping up in cities across the country as an answer to the failing advertisement model. They have a few advantages.
They’re free of advertising, instead largely depending on subscriptions. As a result, it would be responsible to its readers, rather than its advertisers or out-of-state ownership.
A non-profit model will also allow for grant applications and donations, which I want to leverage to ensure that the regular subscriber always receives more value than their subscription fee costs.
I also believe that, using modern digital techniques, a non-profit can deliver news to convenient locations like cellphones and computers, but in more transparent and contextualized ways, like long-form audio interviews, streaming video, and visually-engaging infographics, in addition to quality writing that fully-contextualizes information.
Once this non-profit is founded, it will need the support of donors and subscribers to survive and grow. Please set aside your support until that time.
In the meanwhile, I intend to continue reporting as I have for the Gazette when not at my “day job”. My work will be posted to this Substack and sent to my subscriber’s inboxes. Because I can’t guarantee any frequency or schedule, it will remain free of charge.
One last note. If you’ve decided to call the Gazette to cancel your subscription or complain, please be gentle. The people who usually answer the phone there have little or no control over the content inside, and they don’t deserve your ire.