Media is a volatile industry right now. Giant companies are buying up news organizations left and right, while the White House has launched a veritable war on free press. Daily newspapers continue to shrink and still struggle to stay afloat.
Put it all together, and it’s clear there has never been a more important moment for alternative newsweeklies in this country.
That’s why our team here at the Chicago Reader is reaching out. This fall, we returned to independent ownership—a decision to be the paper we want to be. But let's be 100% clear: This is an experiment in whether a community-focused independent newspaper can survive in this environment.
We believe the answer is yes. So for the very first time, we're asking readers and supporters to chip in—even if it's just $1—to show your love for the Reader. (We’ll publish the names of everyone who does in a January edition.)
We’ve seen a lot of bad losses in this space—most recently, the Village Voice and the Missoula Indy. And just at the end of November, Edmonton, Alberta’s VUE Weekly closed down, too.
But there’s a reason the Reader is still here and has re-established itself as an independent paper. Our editor-in-chief, Anne Elizabeth Moore, who returned to Chicago to help lead this effort, put it simply in a recent note from the editor:
Think about it. This is the birthplace of the world’s first skyscraper, modern community organizing, and the first recognized gay-rights organization in the country.
We’ve survived a city-wide fire and countless public officials going to jail for various forms of corruption. We dye our river green every spring because we want to. Many of us can (and some voluntarily choose to) take a sip of that floral gasoline-like substance called Malort without flinching.
And when Lake Michigan is frozen solid and it’s five degrees outside (-12 with the wind chill), we’ll still get up, dig our cars out of the ice and snow, and head to work like it’s totally normal. Because this is Chicago, the city of big shoulders.
A city like ours requires an alternative press. It defines us. The bet we're all making right now is that this city and its people are going to be there for us just like we have been there for them for the last 47 years.
So that’s why we’re writing to ask—for the first time—for a donation from you. Chip in what you can right now, and build a part of the legacy (and future) of the Chicago Reader.
Tracy Baim, Publisher,
For the Chicago Reader team
P.S. To show our gratitude and to show the world that the Chicago Reader belongs to the people who read and love it, in January we’ll be printing the names of anyone who chips in during this fundraising drive. Even if it’s just a buck. (Seriously. Just opt-in if you wish to be identified.)
Thursday, December 06, 2018
The CHICAGO READER Needs your Support!
When the Reader hurts, we hurt. This is by far the best print and online publication in Chicago. Please consider donating to get them thru this rough patch!