Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 24, 2011

Weekly launches community membership campaign

'Support Local Journalism' drive asks readers to invest in community reporting

The Palo Alto Weekly has launched a campaign to secure a healthy future by asking readers to begin paying for a portion of the costs of operating the Weekly and its popular website, Palo Alto Online.

Through a letter to all residents and a print and online advertising campaign, the Weekly aims to replace the recession-driven decline in print advertising with membership subscriptions from people who value local journalism, regardless of whether viewed in print or online.

"As more residents turn online to stay informed about the community, and businesses rocked by the recession suspend their advertising or turn to inexpensive marketing alternatives, the traditional business model that allowed local journalism to be almost solely supported through advertising is quickly evaporating," said Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson.

"These changes threaten the viability of quality local journalism everywhere, including in our community," Johnson said.

Readers are being asked to sign up for a monthly payment program of at least $5 per month (17 cents a day) by going to www.SupportLocalJournalism.org/PaloAlto, returning the form being mailed to residents next week, or by calling the office at 650-326-8210. Annual payments are also welcomed.

Subscribing members will be sent a Support Local Journalism bumper sticker and a choice of a coffee mug, T-shirt or shopping bag, plus receive special offers and invitations to member events.

"Recent surveys show that our print and online readership is greater than ever," Johnson said. "But rather than requiring a newspaper subscription fee or restricting our website to subscribers, we are hoping that Palo Alto residents will step up and do their part to fund the quality local journalism that we create day in and day out," he said.

Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

This is confusing. Is the $5 per month for print version, online version, or both?

This will in effect register all users to this forum as some type of password system will be necessary to gain access to the website. Or, am I reading this wrong?


Posted by Susan , a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2011 at 4:59 am

The Weekly is by far the most thoughtful and unbiased of the major local news options. I will contribute.


Posted by Jocelyn Dong, editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jun 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Hi Resident. Thanks for asking about the Support Local Journalism campaign.

To clarify, this is a voluntary program. We are not instituting a pay wall. Content on Palo Alto Online will continue to be free, as will your subscription to the Weekly, whether or not you become a member.

Our membership program simply asks our readers to help fund the costs of producing quality coverage of our community. The traditional funding model for newspapers -- print advertising -- has undergone a tremendous change in the past decade. The advent of classified advertising websites such as craigslist.com, readers' adoption of digital habits, and the recent recession have forever altered how journalism is funded.

We're asking our readers to invest in journalism. The Weekly's news staff is bright and hard-working, dedicated to bringing you community reporting accurately and in the most insightful ways we can. If supporting local journalism is something that you believe in, we welcome your participation.

Thanks.


Posted by anciana, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

anciana is a registered user.

I would be happy to pay to keep independent journalism in Palo Alto. When the letter comes, I will respond.


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