Publisher’s Letter: This is War

Follow this chart every week! Let's get rid of the red together! Give 5 newspapers from any one of our stands to friends, family, co-workers and ask them to subscribe.
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

When I came up with this headline, I decided to check on the definition of war (as a noun). I was pretty sure I knew what it would say.

From Merriam Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war):

(1): a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations

(2): a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism

Then, I looked it up as a verb:

(1): to be in active or vigorous conflict

(2): to engage in warfare

I have to be honest. For the past five years, while rebuilding North Forty News, I have often felt like it is an information war.

News Organizations have been in a period of transition for some time. Most of my colleagues (whom I have known and worked with for my 30-year career in the news) would agree we are in unprecedented times. These times are what led me to this battle. I felt like it was my duty as a career-long Journalist to do something about it. I needed to step into the trenches and fight.

My first task was to save North Forty News. It was about to go out of business. Losing this platform would leave entire communities in Northern Colorado in news deserts. 

The good news is that I have been able to save North Forty News. It has grown exponentially. Thousands of people read it every week (online and in print). I hear consistent feedback about how happy people are that it is around. And I’m proud of that accomplishment!

But I can’t stop there. If I do, the organization won’t survive.

So, my second task is to make the organization sustainable and robust. This part of the information war has been challenging. I frequently feel like someone is shooting at me. I feel like I’m dodging bullets (such as when I choose to pay other people on the team before I take a paycheck). 

Many of the challenges this organization faces are not unique to any business. It’s part of being an entrepreneur. I have been more than willing to work three jobs while living in an RV and taking care of 2 young children. Many parts of my new lifestyle are delightful (and I’d say most things are more enjoyable than I ever could have imagined).

But, the reality is that one person can only do so much. My team is excellent at doing their jobs, and they work hard! I am often proud when I hear from people how happy they are — that this organization has survived the information war so far. 

But, we need more resources, so my team and I can improve this organization (from a content and business perspective).

To make this organization strong for years, it has to build its subscriber and advertiser base. It needs to increase its revenue while keeping expenses low. 

Many news organizations in Colorado (and throughout the country) are transitioning to non-profits. They are relying more on grant funding and community support to survive. Many are thriving! 

Thanks to one of our supporters (Richard), I read about one newspaper in Crestone (the Crestone Eagle) that has done the same. While I have seen these successes firsthand, I don’t believe regular grant funding is how we will build a multi-generational North Forty News. 

I believe our supporters in the community will do that — through contributions and advertising.

Maybe turning North Forty News into a non-profit is the answer. I have thought about this for many years. If that’s what the community will support, I support it too! I’d love to hear more, perhaps even discuss the formation of a non-profit board so we can begin the process. Email me (bhowerton@northfortynews.com) if you’re interested.

Regardless of the organizational structure of North Forty News, it must have support from the communities we serve. That’s why I have the goal of 1,000 new subscribers by January. In recent weeks, we have seen a good uptick. Since the end of August, we have increased our net subscriber base by ten people. That’s pretty good. But, to reach the goal, we have to keep working! Can we get to a net increase of 100 by the end of September? I believe we can!

Several people have written checks, donating money to North Forty News. And I thank every single one of you! Whether you contributed a dollar, or several hundred, you are the reason why this organization will survive.

But, as you can see from the graphic above, we still have a ways to go! We need to get rid of the red to make this happen. 

Spread the word. 

Give it as a gift. 

Ask your neighbors, friends, and family to subscribe. 

Get involved.

So, will you join me in this information war? Your support will make this happen even if you don’t have the money. It will secure a solution-driven information platform for Northern Colorado, and it will help communities thrive. 

Community news (a free press) is one of the foundations of this country. As citizens, we have to make sure it continues. I’m working on that for Northern Colorado, and I hope the communities we serve will too.


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