Local journalism makes community stronger

Saturday, January 11, 2020

There were more than 20,000 clicks to our website in December by people who were interested in the content, but were not subscribers.

The number is even higher in some months, topping 31,000 clicks.

We know people care about what is going on in their communities. The response to our stories proves that.

They want to know what decisions are being made by the city council and school boards. They want to know when their neighbors and friends’ children have done well in school.

They want to know when families or charities are in need, and how they can help.

But studies have shown many people believe local, community news should be a service, provided in the same way police and fire protection, street repairs and other government services are offered.

The difference is that our efforts are not supported by tax dollars or donations. They come from subscribers and subscriber-driven advertising.

We have employees who have families. They live in this community too. They raise their children in the schools we report on, and pay taxes to the cities we cover.

Their paychecks allow them to support other local businesses.

Frequently, we get comments like the DAR “shouldn’t be allowed to use Facebook” if our content isn’t free.

Truthfully, our staff works long days and nights, takes the brunt of personal attacks and faces the other challenges of our jobs because they see the value of community journalism. They want the public to be informed, because that makes our communities stronger.

They do this work because they love it and believe in it. But they have the same bills to pay that you do, so this has to be a business that requires subscribers and advertisers.

The next time you click on a story you can’t view without a subscription, we hope you’ll remember that without the DAR no one would be reporting on what candidates’ views are in the upcoming city and school elections. No one would have reported how much money will be paid to Eight Points developers by city taxpayers, or how many millions of dollars former city manager Heath Kaplan was spending on no-bid contracts with out-of-state companies.

No one would be following up on the trials of those accused of murder and robbery in our community. No one would be there to ask local school districts how bond money is spent. And no one would be providing the comprehensive coverage of our local sports teams.

An online subscription to the DAR costs only $5 a month or 16-cents a day. It’s less than a month of Netflix or a large latte.

But being involved and aware of what is going on in your community is so much more important than the newest episode of a popular drama or a caffeine boost.

We do what we do because we care about our community. We hope you do too.

— Daily American Republic

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