Earlier this week, I was sitting with a group of women — all past presidents of a professional association that I’ve belonged to since college. We gather once a year and everyone takes a turn describing highlights of her life since our last meeting.
As it grew closer to my time to speak, I began agonizing over what to say. Because by nature, I am not one for the spotlight. And yet — I have spent much of this year being in it.
In January, I was recognized by the Mountlake Terrace Business Association as the Small Business of the Year. In March, the Mountlake Terrace High School Booster Club presented me with its Outstanding Community Partner Award. And in May, I was named Edmonds Citizen of the Year, selected by the Edmonds Kiwanis Club.
It has been almost 10 years since I founded My Edmonds News. It’s been seven years since I took over MLTnews from founder Dustin Dekoekkoek and six years since I acquired Lynnwood Today from founder Mike Murphy. It was never my intention to have digital news properties in all three South Snohomish County cities. But the truth is, I knew that if I didn’t acquire them — after being approached by their respective founders to do so — there would be no news coverage for those two cities — from local government to schools to arts to business to high school sports. That was unacceptable to me. With newspapers downsizing and closing across the U.S., “news deserts” — communities without local news organizations — are becoming increasingly common. I was determined that our area would not become part of that scenario.
So I plowed ahead, not knowing what the future would hold.
Our readership has increased year-over-year. We are getting more revenue through advertising too, and I am grateful to the local businesses and organizations that support us. But the truth is, even with a 10-year track record…even after these many accolades…I still worry every single month about whether we can stay in business.
After 10 years, we are covering a combined population of 100,000 on a shoestring. Frankly, I think we do an amazing job — stellar work, really — for our communities. But, as I’ve said before, the sustainability of our news organization — as well as journalism in general — is an ongoing worry for me.
It takes money to produce good journalism. It can’t be done for free.
And all the accolades in the world won’t change that fact.
But I’ll tell you what will. Reader support. Your pledge of any amount on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis to help us fund our reporting and photography and graphic design and marketing and tech support.
I have a few hundred readers, out of approximately 10,000 readers daily, who support our work financially in some way — either online or via a paper check. Please know that I appreciate each of you.
But that leaves many thousands who do not.
I believe the future of journalism rests on reader support — those who recognize the important role that trusted, objective news coverage plays in our democracy. And those who are willing to pay for it, because it matters.
Can you afford $5 a month? $10 a month? Or more?
I am proud of what we have accomplished. I want to continue covering our communities with the trusted news you have come to expect.
When reporter Larry Vogel interviewed me after I was selected as Edmonds Citizen of the Year, I told him I plan to continue providing news coverage for our communities for many years to come.
But after 10 years, I am also a realist about what it takes to do that. Yes, passion and drive and commitment — all things that earn community recognition and awards — are key.
But it also takes money.
It’s my hope that those of you who value our work will show your support today at this link.
With sincere appreciation,
Teresa Wippel, Publisher