I want to run an idea past you.
We publish a free, weekly newspaper called The Local Paper. It is available from 150+ outlets throughout municipalities including Mansfield,. Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.
It is also available free, online, at www.LocalPaper.com.au and through Facebook.
Normally, we have a weekly print edition. This is a ‘hard copy’ newspaper which people hold in their hands. The ‘hard copy’ is particularly popular in our heartland regional area, where the median age of readers is 48. They are the last adaptors to digital media.
The print copy is entirely funded by paid advertising, which we sell at a low price, making it affordable for small businesses. Normally, the paper is about 100 pages each week. Our business runs at just better than break-even. In the past, I have taken a small salary.
The Coronavirus means many of advertisers are now in hibernation. That means that there are few new ads. And that means there is no revenue to pay our printers for their resources and time. So we suspended the print edition this week. (Other regional publishers around Victoria have also stopped printing.)
HERE’S THE IDEA …
We are still publishing a weekly edition ONLINE, with daily online updates. That will continue, free of charge.
We would still love to pump out a ‘skeleton’ print edition each week. Maybe, a 12- or 16-page paper (with no ads), full of essential local information to help people make it through the crisis. We think we can add a few positive messages to keep spirits up during the long winter ahead.
For some of our readers, particularly those in remote areas, our print edition newspaper is the only media that they receive each week.
To make this idea come true, we would need to raise about $35,000 to print 13 editions over the next three months (April, May and June). Is there a ‘White Knight’/Business Angel who might wish to donate such an amount to make this community service project come alive? They can have prominent recognition, or choose to remain invisble. Their call.
This is not a money-making idea. As our part of the bargain, we would donate our services to write, prepare and distribute the newspaper.
What do you think? Please do NOT send money at this stage. (If the project goes ahead, the donor/s can pay by Card [V, M, AE] or Direct Debit 033091 260131.)
We are happy to continue our online-only services at no charge, but we think this idea will realise our best possible service to the community.
If this idea appeals to you, comment here or on social media, send me a private message, or email at editor@LocalPaper.com.au, or phone me on my mobile: 0450 399 932.
“When in doubt, do the courageous thing.”
Yours sincerely, Ash Long
Phone: 1800 231 311 or 0450 399 932