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Publishers Corner: Ensuring a path forward ... SUSTAINING SUBSCRIPTIONS

A few weeks ago, the Press announced plans to offer ownership shares (i.e., stock) to address the continuing shortfall of funds to cover operating costs. On advice from attorneys and other advisers, we have decided not to do that.

If you value local, independent news and want to ensure that the Press remains a local source of news for years to come, we need your help. We’ve explored several other possibilities. A few readers have suggested raising subscription rates, but we’re hesitant to do this when it could be a hardship for some. Instead, we are creating a new subscription category: Sustaining Subscriber. For a minimum of $100 per year, new or renewing subscribers may elect this category and be included in a listing that will be maintained on our website, www.harvardpress.com, and published periodically in the print edition. As previously, subscribers who prefer to be anonymous and not be listed will be able to do so. Our hope is that many readers will choose to become five-year Sustaining Subscribers at $500 each.

We apologize for this change of plan, but we have been made aware of pitfalls that could be costly and fraught with delay and could compromise our ability to maintain the quality and integrity of Harvard’s local newspaper. The biggest hazard, which we had not considered, is the principle that stock ownership of a corporation is an investment, and the primary duty of such an organization is to produce profit for its stockholders. Nothing could be further from our goal! We want to live up to our original motto, “Harvard’s independent source of local news,” and our main mission has been to make this a sustainable endeavor for the community. We have never aimed to make profits for owners. Any checks received and deposited under the ownership model will be redesignated, with the permission of the donors, as Sustaining Subscriptions.

At a time when the town is considering building a new elementary school, changing its government to charter-driven, debating final disposition of Devens, and determining the most important use of tax dollars, an independent source of news is crucial to making sound, informed decisions. Please commit to a Sustaining Subscription today; click the “Sustain or Donate” button at harvardpress.com or contact us at 978-456-3700 or publisher@harvardpress.net.

If you’re interested in becoming more actively involved in the paper—reporting, editing, photographing, layout and design, or office management—we’d love to hear from you. Stop by the office or get in touch by phone or email. A community resource is only as strong as the involvement of its participants.

And there’s one more way you can support local news. The next time you’re running errands, ask your local business if they advertise in the Press. Explain that this is the most reliable way to reach the Harvard market, and have them call us (978-456-3700) for advertising information.


Note: See "Local Journalism: A Labor of Love and Democracy," an article in  Yale University's thepolitic.org by former Harvard Press writer Lily Moore-Eissenberg.

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