We introduced The Chronicle Foundation last week, dedicating our entire Sept. 7 cover to the urgency and importance of keeping this news and information business alive.
We know you know this: Our mission, our North Star, is to serve the communities we cover with hyper-local news about family, friends, and neighbors.
No one else does this. No other local entity shines a spotlight on nonprofits helping others with food, shelter, clothing, and mental and emotional care. No other media is regularly attending ribbon-cuttings for new businesses, featuring trends and products and profiling the local owners. And neither are they attending city council meetings, planning commissions, board meetings, covering five high schools in four districts.
We fill a niche. We’re different – in fact, we’re unique and differentiating with our content. We also make it available however you choose to consume it. You can read us in print, on our website, on our social media pages; you can watch video and hear audio on digital platforms; our photography and storytelling powers multiple special sections and magazines throughout the year.
All focused on Springfield, Creswell, Cottage Grove, and Pleasant Hill.
Last week’s column was an attempt at transparency; I wrote when I first purchased The Chronicle that my role was only as steward and place-keeper. A newspaper belongs to its readers; it’s why the degradation and death of great newspapers is so hurtful.
My piece wasn’t promoting a one-time fire sale; don’t expect a “going-out-of-business” grift every few months.
We wanted to let you know that our business – specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution and a critical patch in the community quilt – is facing an immediate financial challenge. We sought a lifeline, and created another avenue for people who support community journalism to contribute – The Chronicle Foundation. It’s dedicated to covering education in all of our communities, and covering the volunteers and nonprofit organizations who are making a difference in people’s lives – helping improve the quality of life for all of us.
And folks, you’ve responded.
Nearly $1,000 in small-dollar donations were posted on our website, chronicle1909.com, which has a link to The Chronicle Foundation. And nearly the same amount has come in as checks and cash at our office in Springfield.
The phone calls, cards, letters, and in-person support is priceless.
The Springfield BLOCK Party led to nearly 20 new subscriptions in a few hours; multiple people stopped by our booth to chat and express support and appreciation. For instance:
■ We were speaking with a woman purchasing a gift subscription with our special $19.09 annual flash sale. She asked how she could help us and said she’d make a donation to the Foundation. She said she became a subscriber after reading our story about the two old trees that fell in front of the old school in Springfield. She said “that was an amazing story and couldn’t wait for more.”
■ Shortly after that phone call, a gentleman came in and handed us a $200 check – “I love your paper, your reporting, and I care about our paper.”
■ A well-known figure in Springfield chatted at our booth for a bit, letting us know he also made a contribution online … A local legend in Creswell has created a weekly $25 recurring donation … A local musician, who often plays in front of post offices and public spaces for tips, gave us $200.
■ “I am a Chronicle subscriber and would like to see it in my mailbox every Thursday for many years to come. That is why I am volunteering to help in the office.”
■ An email from a subscriber wanted us to know she made a $100 donation, “I want to commend The Chronicle staff for putting together quality, important work and really commend us for reporting on multiple cities and areas so that there’s something for everyone.”
There are many good ways to invest in your community. Volunteerism and kindness. Strong, practical education. Government leaders with integrity. Youth sports and activities. Arts and culture. Health and wellness.
Exactly what The Chronicle does – for communities that have no other coverage. If you like any of that – now is the time to act. Now is the time to give.
Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle. Email him at [email protected].