At first, as the donations began pouring in, I thought to myself: the power of the web and social media is truly amazing.
It’s a wonder — so much energy mustered with the click of a digital button.
Last Sunday night, a week ago from this writing, I was sitting in this same chair, in this same little home office, contemplating the ramifications of asking our loyal readers for money.
Doing so was about a million miles from my comfort zone, and I worried whether more than a dozen years of goodwill would be squandered if the request was misunderstood.
Granted, in partnership with the Local Media Foundation/Local Media Association nonprofit, I was asking for tax-deductible charitable donations to our Examiner – COVID19 Local News Fund to support a mission I’m passionate about, not seeking a personal favor. But the entire idea just gave me serious pause. Then I realized it would be selfish to allow personal pride to interfere with anything other than the most aggressive effort to generate support for critically important local journalism in a time of crisis. And, after I realized that, I clicked the button. The response has been overwhelming.
Since that mouse click a week ago today, as of the crafting of this sentence, we’ve raised $13,167 and growing from 167 donations, almost all in the $25 to $100 range. Our goal might be $25,000 in fundraising, but I really didn’t know whether we’d raise $250 when all was said and done, let alone enough revenue to, ahem, almost cover a week’s worth of expenses. (Publishing professionally reported local news is an expensive proposition).
In fact, due to the significant financial demands of printing four community newspapers, and operating a daily news website, we must remain zealous in our efforts to raise funds. But, in the meantime, on behalf of our laid off workers, and on behalf of local journalism more broadly, I want to give my most hearty, most enthusiastic, most grateful thank you to you all.
It’s not just the incredible donors who contributed to the cause who deserve thanks — and they do deserve and receive a special thanks. Or all the advertisers that have stuck with us. Or all the core, remaining staff — a group so dedicated and talented it makes me emotional. It’s also ALL of you. Every. Single. Reader. You’ve been with us since day one, back in Sept. of 2007, when The Examiner was an unknown, unproven upstart. From the jump, you confirmed our notion that fact-checked, well-crafted local news continues to be in high demand. You were thirsty for meaningful reporting about your local governments, schools and area sports. You remained faithful to embracing a community newspaper that delivered what it promised.
“We are devout readers of The Examiner,” my friends/Pleasantville residents Annemarie and Per Andre Brandt wrote on our online donation page when contributing. “A publication like this is a necessity in our small local communities. Rarely do we go into Starbucks, the barber shop or the lobby at the Jacob Burns without seeing people engrossed in an issue. We are proud to support a paper based on integrity and a generous community spirit.”
If I could feature every incredible quote from our readers on our donation page, I would. They have all been a source of enormous inspiration during a challenging time. But, for now, let me just say this: my first thought was wrong. It’s not just about the power of the web and social media. It’s about the power of grassroots support for local news reporting. It’s about the power of community. It’s about the power of, well, you.
Here’s our donation link to use and, please, share: https://givebutter.com/theexaminernews