by Fred Kuhr
As community media continue to suffer economically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some newspapers are continuing to find new ways to engage readers with the goal of raising much-needed funds.
Most notably, Bay Area Reporter (BAR) has joined with 14 other San Francisco “public interest news outlets” in launching a joint fundraiser this month to “preserve and protect the city’s independent press,” according to a release from the San Francisco Independent Press Association and the fundraising effort called Save SF News.
The idea was inspired by a similar campaign run by the Chicago Independent Media Alliance that launched in May. That effort, a joint venture by over 40 news outlets including the Windy City Times, raised $160,000.
“San Francisco’s independent press fights for the city — its arts, culture, people, businesses and institutions,” said Alex Mullaney, fundraising organizer and publisher of Ingleside Light. “A rich city needs a rich variety of journalism.”
In the joint statement, the news outlets state, “Local reporting has been essential during the shelter-in-place public health orders as well as local and national elections, highlighting the issues that matter and institutions that needed help.” For its part, BAR has focused on struggles faced by LGBTQ tenants, elders, and business districts such as the Castro.
The collective of media outlets includes both for-profit and non-profit newsrooms. They include minority community outlets such as El Tecolote and Nichi Bei Weekly as well as neighborhood publications such as the Noe Valley Voice and Portrero View.
The group hopes to raise at least $25,000. As of this writing, the effort has brought in about $4,000. To donate, go to https://www.savesfnews.com/
The Washington Blade also launched a new fundraising campaign timed with December 1, which was the date for Giving Tuesday this year. In an email to readers, publisher Lynne Brown wrote of the work the Blade has done over its 51-year history.
“Since 1969, the Washington Blade has worked to tell the stories of the LGBTQ community of the metro D.C. area,” wrote Brown. “Since our early days, that mission has expanded to include our unparalleled coverage of political news as the only LGBTQ source inside the White House. And, more recently, the mission grew again to include unique international coverage, specifically focusing on LGBTQ issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. … Now is the time to stay steadfast on reporting the facts for the LGBTQ community. As we like to say here, ‘Alt News Not Alt Facts.’ Start your monthly gift today and be the allies the LGBTQ community needs today and tomorrow.
The email included a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU6MlCJ4cAk&t=1s) that the Blade circulated last year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. To donate, go to https://www.washingtonblade.com/membership/
Even news websites are seeking donations from readers. For example, Benjamin Cohen, CEO of U.K.-based PinkNews, has begun a campaign called MyPinkNews, a new paid-for membership program.
Cohen cited the pandemic’s effect on advertising dollars as the reason for the new campaign. Additionally, he said, “Many brands block advertising on LGBTQ related content, which leads to lower quality ads alongside some of our articles.”
MyPinkNews membership will grant readers an “ad-light experience” on the PinkNews site, exclusive access to investigations and reportage before wider publication, exclusive analysis, the ability to comment on articles, webinars and virtual meetings with the news team, 10 percent off purchases at PinkNews.shop, and “the knowledge that you are supporting essential LGBTQ journalism.”
Membership costs 50 pounds (about $67 U.S.) a year, or $65 for U.S. users. To sign up, go to https://www.pinknews.co.uk/mypinknews/
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