Monday, September 7, 2009

News & Observer competitor begs for donations

The Raleigh Times, a nonprofit online newspaper, is asking readers to donate money to fund additional reporters. Here is the announcement on the paper's site:

Following the lead of some other newspaper websites, The Raleigh Telegram newspaper is seeking online donations to help with its news efforts and to help pay its NC Press Association dues.

"Like other newspapers across the country, we're offering our news on our website for free," said R.Gregg, publisher of the newspaper. "As we're providing a free service to thousands of readers each week through our journalist's efforts, hopefully that is of some value to the public and our readers."

Gregg said he had seen other independent newspaper websites such as The Minnesota Post and Voice of San Diego successfully request donations to fund newsroom operations and decided to give it a try. In fact, the vast majority of the source of funds used run those news operations comes from donations from private individuals or public institutions.

"We would very much like to fund some additional reporters and any donations would certainly help towards that goal," said Gregg.

The Raleigh Telegram is the first and only online newspaper to join the NC Press Association as an associate member. Some of the funds donated would also help to pay the $350 yearly membership fee in that professional organization, says the newspaper.

The newspaper points out that it is not a nonprofit organization and therefore donations are not tax deductible by donors. However, the newspaper will be running [ed. -- this sentence was incomplete.]

Based on its subscriber base, with around 5,000 readers receiving its weekly email, The Raleigh Telegram is the second largest general interest newspaper in Raleigh behind the (Raleigh) News & Observer daily newspaper.

Hat tip: Fading to Black



Anonymous said...

Maybe. Show us how your coverage for Van Jones was unbiased?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they could get the Duke Lacrosse team to play a charity game for them as a fund raiser.

Anonymous said...

If newspapers don’t wish to report the news, then why would anyone care to pay actual money to read them?

And what exactly would they be reading? Classifieds? Auto ads? Country club socialite columns?

I mean… if I’m interested in propaganda, I can listen to NPR and pull up the AP’s website for free.

If I’m interested in local classifieds, I can pull up Craigslist and other sites.

Why on earth would I pay $35+ a month for this service I already receive?

The Raleigh Telegram said...

Some comments from the Raleigh Telegram editor, Elliott West, in response to comments made about our Raleigh Telegram newspaper:

VAN JONES - We didn't report on Mr. Jones' activities in the White House as we usually only link to national and international stories. Most of our original coverage is local in nature and appears as our top stories each Friday. So I guess you could say that we are "unbiased" in that regard.

DUKE LACROSSE TEAM - We were the first newspaper in the area to report the official announcement by Attorney General Roy Cooper had dismissed all charges in the lacrosse case as we posted the story wirelessly from his news conference. Further, our coverage questioned the claims of the Duke faculty group which had called for the students to be expelled before the case even went to trial.

PAYING MONEY TO READ THEM (I.E. $35 A MONTH) - Our news coverage is 100% free. We don't charge for print editions because we don't have them. We're online only and our 5,000 subscribers receive a free email every week with links to every single story that we posted since our previous one.

CLASSIFIEDS, AUTO ADS: We don't have those either. We use Craigslist ourselves and our newspaper has even interviewed Craig Newmark.

LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Not all newspapers are the same and not all newspapers are left-leaning "propaganda" mills or right-wing "neo-con" rags. Some newspapers, like ours, believe in reporting both sides of the news and in particular local items. We have had items critical of both parties and we have opinion writers on both sides of the spectrum. Please look at a newspaper's coverage before you comment on it.

OUR COMPETITOR, THE NEWS AND OBSERVER: Incidentally, we have a great deal of respect for our 100x larger competitor down the street. Under John Drescher, they have done a good job of uncovering a lot of corruption in NC politics including two top politicians former Gov. Easley and Speaker Black (Democrats for those who are asking). While we don't always agree with what they write all the time, we can't imagine what NC would be like without them. They are an invaluable asset to the state.

CONCLUSION: Please support your local newspaper -- especially those that are truly locally owned like ours -- and remember that if you are not happy with coverage then please let the editor know your comments. Newspapers DO listen and your input is ALWAYS appreciated (as long as it is in a constructive form, not mean-spirited in nature.) THANKS FOR READING!

---Elliott West, Raleigh Telegram, Assoc. Member, NC Press Association, Raleigh, NC