I wrote yesterday about the big money that went into our election, and hoped that we could put that kind of money toward local non-profits this year too.
I neglected to mention another, crucial part of our community well-being: our local media. As we all know, the news business has been destroyed by the Internet and is now scrambling to figure out a business model that works in an age when everyone expects their news for free. Paywalls may yet be the future, but I don’t know many islanders who have subscribed to the Kitsap Sun since they started using theirs. I read it at the library if I’m particularly interested in one of their stories, but I don’t intend to subscribe for the privilege of reading Kitsap Sun articles and their Bainbridge-hating commenters.
And that points up the problem with paywalls—-the product has to be unique and very attractive to entice readers to pay, now that we’re all used to free news.
Yet this election surely has demonstrated how important the news is in our community. Without the Bainbridge Review and Inside Bainbridge, we would have only the most partisan of information. In the past month, if people had only the Trippwire, the Bainbridge Notebook and various personal emails on which to base voting decisions, I don’t think anyone could have made a fully-informed decision. I am fully aware of the limitations of my blog, and don’t pretend to be a real news source. I write columns and opinion pieces on subjects that interest me, based on the best information I can find. While blogs like mine serve a purpose, they cannot take the place of news organizations.
So we MUST support the Review and IB, even if we don’t agree with every editorial position they take (I don’t). Subscribe to the Review today. Support its advertisers and tell them you read about them in the Review. Ditto Inside Bainbridge.
And one more word for Inside Bainbridge. While the Review is part of a large organization that can give it more funding stability, Inside Bainbridge is the work of two local women, Sarah Lane and Julie Hall, along with their wonderful contributors. I can relate. When I published the Bainbridge Buzz with Cathy Nickum, we worked more out of love for this community than for a paycheck. We could pay our bills but not ourselves. We were on the job seven days a week for two years, with minimal compensation before we decided we could no longer afford it.
And that is where Inside Bainbridge is right now. They’ve posted an article today, Who the Heck Are We?, in which they make a plea for financial support.
“Our sole source of revenue is ads, which is not enough money to sustain even our small crew,” they write. “We work full-time plus and get paid full-time minus. Simply put, we cannot continue to run IB without more community support. If we have covered an issue you care about, provided you with practical information during a traffic jam or storm, publicized your business or event, trumpeted your cause, informed you of an opportunity you might have missed, made you laugh or made you think, please consider making a donation to IB to compensate us for the valuable resources we provide to you every day.”
Seriously folks. Subscribe. Contribute. Don’t think about it later. Do it now. We are immeasurably better off because Inside Bainbridge and the Bainbridge Review chase stories, ferret out the truth and tell us about our neighbors, our institutions, our island. They witness the soul of this community. We need them.
And they need us.