Inside the suffocatingly crowded work session meeting room in Peekskill City Hall, a fellow weekly newspaper reporter plops down next to me on the comfortless seat where my jacket was sitting. He motions to the narrow doorway where a daily newspaper reporter, radio journalist, and TV broadcaster are mingling, showing me we had additional media people gathering.
“We’ve got company,” he snorted.
A controversial land deal was on the agenda, generating a little extra attention, but it wasn’t an especially remarkable sight. It was just a random Tuesday night in November in the early 2000s.
It was a good three years before social media companies began to unleash a final industry-crushing sledgehammer to an already tired business model. It was a time when a collection of several competing reporters at one municipal meeting was an unremarkable image, although not as unremarkable as it would have been a decade earlier. A time when half a dozen full-time news journalists might be on the payroll of a small weekly to cover half a dozen towns instead of, say, half a dozen or less to cover two counties.
Since that time, a quarter of U.S. newspapers have withered away and died while countless others exist only as a shell of their former selves. So-called news deserts deprive more than 1,300 communities across America of the bountiful local journalism that had once quenched their thirst for quality community reporting, a study by the UNC School of Media found.
Although Examiner Media is something of an industry success story, we remain a scratch-and-claw company, employing just enough staff to produce the weekly miracle. There are countless stories going untold as a result of our inability to staff a newspaper of the size of yesteryear.
But I can’t tell you how grateful we are as a company to have navigated the pandemic’s choppiest waters and emerge on the other side in one solid enough piece, thanks to your support.
In 2020, as the world melted down, you supplied the rescue boat, with readers contributing more than $30,000 to support our cause, asking nothing in return other than us staying afloat and delivering on our journalistic pledge. Now, with #GivingTuesday and #GivingSeason coming, I’m grateful to be asking for something else entirely.
Subscriptions, Not Donations
While it was donations we asked for last year, this year it’s subscriptions. This year, we can give you something in return over and above the award-wining local newspaper journalism you’ve come to count on since 2007. This year we can give you Examiner+, a premium digital newsmagazine with in-depth news and lifestyle coverage delivered in sections straight to your inbox through the emerging Substack platform. While our newspapers and website continue to serve our audience with town-by-town beats, on Examiner+ we’re feeding our readers countywide and regional magazine journalism for Westchester, Putnam, and the broader Hudson Valley to complement our hyperlocal news delivery systems. This year, with your support, we’re able to provide you with more community value than ever.
Subscribing to Examiner+ gives our audience the avenue to support the broader Examiner Media mission and receive some of the highest quality local journalism being produced in the area today.
In our unique Weekend + Edition section on Saturdays, Examiner+ is jam-packed with content goodies, from musical interludes, local historical photos, funny cartoons, and a Westchester stat of the week, not to mention all our great in-depth news features and lifestyle articles from throughout the week. Food, local culture, events, Q&As, first-person essays, and much more.
It’s important to realize that each one of your subscriptions matters to us deeply. Our initial goal is to generate 1,000 paid subscribers and eventually eclipse 2,000 to have genuinely discovered a new, sustainable business model that truly enhances the ability of community newspapers to employ more local journalists. We’ve been chipping away at our subscriber goal, but we do need your support to make this project sing. (For those of you who have already taken the plunge and joined our Examiner+ community as paid members, a profound thank you.)
Here’s the deal
And, hey, everyone loves a deal, right? You can purchase an annual Examiner+ subscription for just $30 through Tuesday, Nov. 30. We’ll also continue with a holiday offer throughout December, giving readers the option to subscribe for $39 instead of our normal $49 price tag.
So, if you’re game, here’s that link to subscribe:
You might need another affordable stocking stuffer as well. A paid subscription to Examiner+ makes for a great, thoughtful gift for your friends, family, and colleagues who share our passion for local journalism — especially those in your circle who value quality reporting and those who produce it.
Additionally, there’s a premium tier, Examiner+ Ambassador, for $99/year (or more, if you choose), aimed at people (and companies/organizations) who want to support our work at a higher level. On top of full access to our premium content, E+ Ambassadors will enjoy occasional perks and surprise bonuses throughout the year. In fact, just this weekend we published pet photos for a couple Ambassadors as a token of appreciation, with more to come. And our Examiner+ tote bags are arriving soon!
We’d also be honored if you share our articles over email and social media with friends, and encourage them to subscribe as well.
And as I think back to my days as a cub reporter, holed up in that Peekskill work session room, I’m more optimistic than I have been in years that one day, with enough support, news outlets across the country and the world can make town meetings packed with reporters a common sight on random Tuesday evenings of the future. Your $30+ packs a stronger and more significant punch than I can convey. You’re buying a subscription and investing in something greater, for Examiner Media and for community journalism writ large.
Adam Stone, Publisher