Paying for journalism?
This isn't a column about pay walls (dumb) or subscriptions to Harper's (good). This is about a changing local-news landscape—and what Sacramento needs to do to keep up.
Local news is in trouble. The McClatchy Company, which owns The Sacramento Bee and 28 other papers, reported on Tuesday that advertising revenue fell just a click over 10 percent for the quarter. Again. That's not good if you care about local stories and keeping a watchdog eye on the powerful.
The company can't continue losing tens of millions of dollars a year, so the Bee will eventually have to reinvent itself—which inevitably means less local news.
This struggle is happening in a world where Pulitzer Prize winners are leaving journalism because reporter salaries don't feed families or put kids through college. It's depressing.
SN&R remains a sustainable for-profit business and we're doing fine. But, as The New Yorker reported in April, ads alone can no longer entirely fund local news. We need nonprofits and foundations who care about Sacramento to step up.
Occasionally, we're going to ask readers for help, too, particularly with special projects that go above and beyond our typical news gathering.
SN&R's California Immigration Project, which will report on illegal deportations and their impact on immigrant families, is one of those instances. You can read about this exciting endeavor on page 13, and you can help fund it now (with dollar-for-dollar matching donations) at www.beaconreader.com/projects/investigating-california-jails-ice-deportations. Thanks for the help!