Partway into the third year of Press operation, and having encountered severe financial difficulties caused by local and national economic conditions, we documented in a series of blog posts our startup and our first few years of positive and negative experiences. Following are links to five posts:
The Press moved to its present quarters on the third floor of the General Store in March, 2009, and for the next six years operated close to breakeven in some years, losing between $15,000 and $25,000 in others. By late 2015, startup donations had been depleted, and it was clear we needed to ask readers for help.
A "Publishers Corner" article in early November of 2015 put out a call for help, and almost immediately, contributions came in.
See Publishers Corner: The economics of local news, 11/6/15
In our next issue we were able to report that an anonymous donor had pledged $5,000, matching individual gifts up to $100. In the ensuing three months, more than $7,000 was received, and with the $5,000 match the 2015 deficit was almost totally eliminated.
See Publishers Corner: Meeting the challenge, 11/13/15
In the 2016 spring townwide issue, we listed names of 76 families (all but those who preferred to be anonymous) who had contributed in the past year, allowing us to take full advantage of the matching donation.
See It takes a village to support local news, 4/1/16
In a November 2016 Publishers Corner article, we gave another update. By that time the list of recent donors had grown to nearly 100 families, helping to reduce the 2016 deficit, but it would still be a money-losing year unless additional donations were received. Once again there was a nice response, but the year's loss was more than $10,000.
See Update on the economics of local news, 11/18/16
Just before our summer break in July 2017, we sounded the familiar refrain—2017 would be another money-losing year, and we had borrowed to keep the lights on until more funding could be obtained. We broached the idea of expanding ownership to all in the community who wanted to support, and began planning to recapitalize.
See The price of local independent news, 7/7/17
After the summer break, we proposed details: $500 as minimum equity contribution, lump sum or $100 annual payments, and now we are putting out a survey to test feasibility.
See Update: The price of local independent news, 8/18/17