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Why should you support your local newspaper?



The past.


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The present.


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Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Subscribe, sure, but be a noisy subscriber. You might have plenty of access to local news without a subscription, and giving these companies your money might do nothing to increase or even preserve local journalism resources. Subscribe anyway. A reporter at the Denver Post, whose newsroom has been slashed by Digital First Media while winning Pulitzers over the past five or so years, made a convincing case for reader support recently while acknowledging that it was going to feed a hedge fund’s thirst for profits. Subscribe as a statement of support for the work local journalists, not the company, are doing. But be an engaged subscriber — telling the company as often as you can why you are spending your money and what you expect as a reader. Do it in public as well as in private. Your local paper probably doesn’t have an ombudsman. Be part of crowdsourcing that role.

OUR PRINT EDITION:
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

Single copy price: $1.00

Annual subscription rates:

$32.00 Nebraska only
$43.00 U.S. domestic
$50.00 international rate

There will be no refunds on subscriptions.

OUR ELECTRONIC EDITION

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2. Support individual journalists.
“Journalism companies are dead. Long live journalists.” Take time to tell your local reporters and editors that you appreciate what they’re doing. Odds are they’re probably not loving working for that hedge fund, on top of all of the normal stress that comes with being a journalist these days. Help them report their stories. Be constructive in your criticism. Instead of “how could you have missed this story, or ignored this community voice,” say, “can I introduce you to this new source who might be able help you?” And as a subscriber, demand that the company treat them well.


3. Support independent local news sites.
Independent online news organizations have emerged all over the country to fill the gaps in local journalism left by the decline of newspapers and to give voice to communities who were never well-served by legacy media in the first place. LION, the nonprofit I help lead, has 200 members, both for-profit and nonprofit, in 43 states, and the Institute for Nonprofit News represents a similar number of independent publishers. In some cases, they’re general interest news sites doing all or most of what a traditional newspaper used to do for their community. Others are covering niche topics within a local area in greater depth than newspapers were ever able to provide, and are complementing, more than competing with, the work that’s being done by what’s left of the local daily.


4. Start your own independent local news effort.
The Gannetts and Gatehouses of the world won’t be going back into local newspaper markets to restore reporter and editor positions that have been cut. It will be up to individual communities to take responsibility for their local information and journalism needs. That’s us, especially those of us with backgrounds in or understanding of journalism. It’s not an easy endeavor. An understanding and commitment to the revenue side of the journalism business is required. But such efforts will be essential to the local news ecosystem regardless of what happens to the newspapers whose owners we love to hate.

Source: Matt DeRienzo, Executive Director of LION Publishers, http://lionpublishers.com / mattderienzo@lionpublishers.com



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