Even as the work they do has never been more urgent and essential, news organizations across the country are struggling to survive. We, unfortunately, are among them.
But since we are betting our future on you -- loyal readers who understand the importance of an independent press to our democracy -- we remain optimistic.
For the first time ever, we are holding a Fall Membership Drive. Between Nov. 1 and 11, we are asking at least 200 readers to join the thousands of their neighbors who are already members of the Pleasanton Weekly and become a Basic Annual Member at $120.
For every new annual membership started before Nov. 11, 10% of the membership will go toward the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, which has provided unrestricted funding to local nonprofits for 20 years.
The loss of a credible local news source can devastate a community and its residents. The obvious dearth of information means people are less informed about what is happening and they tend to vote less, but there is also nobody to hold the public agencies and elected officials accountable.
Over the past 15 years in the U.S., in excess of $37 billion in annual newspaper revenue alone has disappeared, according to a 2020 report, "News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?" by the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"As advertisers followed consumers and moved online ... the nation has lost a fourth of its local newspapers and more than half of the journalists employed by newspapers, leaving residents in entire communities without access to credible and comprehensive news coverage of their everyday lives, as well as historic events," the report stated.
Since 2018, another 300 U.S. newspapers have closed and 6,000 journalists have been laid off, according to the University of North Carolina report.
Locally, there's been a steady decade-long decline in advertising brought on by the disruption of independent local retail by online shopping. Seeing this trend, we had already begun to shift our business model over the last three years to one built on reader support rather than on advertising.
Our fate as an essential source of local news and information and the future of local nonprofit organizations are vital to the health of the community. By helping us reach our goal of 200 new members between now and Nov. 11, you can support both.
The future matters. Together we can keep local journalism alive. Become a member today.
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