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City Paper has been an integral part of the District for 38 years, conducting crucial investigations, capturing life in D.C., and launching the careers of successful journalists. And now we need your help.
Local news is in crisis. Most Americans think that their local news organizations are at least somewhat financially stable. We wish that were true, but it’s not. One in five local papers has disappeared since 2004. And the ones that have survived have had to cut coverage, lay off staff, and put up paywalls. Local news has become scarce and exclusive. It’s not that the journalism has gotten bad—the business model supporting it is broken. Print advertising has dried up, and online advertising doesn’t come close to replacing it.
D.C. hasn’t been immune to this national trend. City Paper is still here, of course, but our newsroom isn’t nearly the size it was back in the day, which means we can’t cover as much of the city as we used to. Local news organizations like the Gazette, Northwest Current, and Express have all shuttered recently. The Washington Post has cut back on local reporting in favor of national news, and its articles are behind a paywall. When we were for sale in 2017 things looked grim until our current owner, Mark Ein, stepped in. After making a series of key investments in the paper, he has worked together with City Paper staff to create a community-supported business model that can sustain this paper far into the future.
There is a local news business model that’s working.
Across the country, news organizations are finding sustainability through community support. There are now more than 200 community-supported news organizations in the United States that thrive thanks to the generosity and passion of their readers. That number is growing, and we want to become one of them. Since we started our membership program in September, hundreds of people have already come together to support our journalism with monthly and one-time contributions, but we need YOUR help to create a new, sustainable, and community-supported City Paper. Our goal is to raise another $25,000 by December 31st and start 2020 with a strong step toward sustainability.
Let us be clear: City Paper’s ambition is not just to survive, but to thrive. With your support, we have goals for 2020 that include adding beats, doing more investigative work, and bringing back our beloved Housing Complex column. Your contributions help us lay the groundwork for this alt weekly to join a new era in local news.
Join the hundreds of your neighbors and fellow readers who have already supported us by becoming a City Paper member today. And from now until the end of the year, when you give your gift will be doubled thanks to $25,000 in matching funds.
Maybe you’re already a member. Or maybe you can’t financially support us right now. You can still help! Forward this email to a friend and let your circle know about our goal to find a local news model that can sustain City Paper for decades to come.
Our readers are the reason we do what we do, and the reason why we want to keep doing it. Reading our work in print and online is a great way to support us.
The City Paper team