The Beacon invites you to partner with us for a sustainable future
Last updated 10/19/2020 at 7:54am
2020 may be remembered, ironically, as the year everyone would like to forget. From a pandemic to an economic collapse to political polarization and more, this has been a year like no other.
Consequently, there has never been a more important time to be informed and engaged. While much of the news has been focused on the national level, the news that most affects you and me is what happens right here, where we live. And that has been our focus since day one: local news, professionally gathered, objectively presented.
Beacon Publishing has been proud to provide that important information to Edmonds residents since 1992. No other media match the Beacon's hyperlocal focus, from City Hall to the school district to youth sports to police and fire to commerce to features and beyond.
But, as you may already know, the newspaper industry has been hard hit in recent years, mainly by social media that has taken and used our work product, i.e .; stories, without compensation to us, but also has sucked up much of the advertising that used to sustain us. Our business model no longer works.
Until last spring, the steady loss of advertising dollars was a slow drip that forced newspapers to lay off staff, reduce coverage, and find other ways to cut costs. Still, newspapers have been closing their doors across the country. According to the University of North Carolina's Hussman School of Journalism, since 2004 about 1,800 newspapers have closed in the U.S. About 1,700 of them were weeklies.
This slow-moving train wreck has created what are known as "news deserts" in communities that no longer have a reliable source of objective information and informed opinion to help residents make wise decisions about their community. Facebook or Twitter chatter and back-fence gossip may be fun, but it's hardly dependable.
According to the Institute for Public Relations, Americans rank newspaper journalists as the least-biased, most reliable news source available. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (who demolished newspapers' classifieds revenues) commissioned a survey that revealed newspapers are the most trusted source of news. We're proud to have been a part of that tradition, providing quality, trustworthy news about your community.
Then, in March, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and businesses throughout the community were forced to close their doors. Understandably, with uncertain futures, they stopped advertising, too. For Beacon Publishing, it was a devastating blow. Advertising dropped by more than half, forcing us to take drastic steps to keep our doors open.
While we have not laid off any staff, everyone has taken a pay cut, and we cut back our publication schedule as well.
The good news is, we're launching a new business plan that will sustain us now and into the future. We're getting ready to introduce a digital first, subscription model that will enable us to provide weekly publication of our newspaper for readers who still enjoy receiving their news traditionally, but we'll continue to upload stories daily on our website for readers who are becoming more comfortable getting their news on their smartphones, iPads, laptops, and other electronic devices.
That way, when there's breaking news or when you have a spare moment to scan the headlines, you'll be able to go to Edmonds Beacon.com, to find the latest about your world. Then, every week, we'll mail your Beacon newspaper, full of expanded local news for your reading pleasure.
We're working with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure your local postal carrier will deliver the Beacon to your mailbox dry and on time.
The newspaper industry's leaders, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and even The Seattle Times have successfully pioneered this business model, showing us the way to a sustainable future.
Of course, we'll continue to provide cost-effective advertising options through our newspaper and website for local businesses that want to reach customers who live and shop here, and whose ads won't be lost in social media's clutter.
And by reaching out to our subscribers, advertisers will know they are connecting with the community's most engaged and informed residents, people who care about and want their hard-earned dollars to remain here, in our community.
It's a win-win-win, for our readers, our advertisers and us. We're asking you to join us in this new approach to community news so that we can continue to provide the kind of quality local journalism that you expect and deserve.
As a subscriber, you'll be assured of getting local news that matters first. You'll also receive emails and other notices that alert you to important, time-sensitive information and special deals not available to others.
To help us through this transition and make the Beacon a better news experience, we're also asking you to fill out a survey about what you want to read. It's on the back page of today's newspaper or, if you prefer, can be filled out online.
Either go to our website directly or use the QR code on the back page survey form.
Join us in this new adventure.
Sign up today to show your support for your community newspaper and, especially, to ensure you'll remain the most informed members of your community. An informed citizenry opens up positive dialogue and helps create sustainable relationships within the community.