The Provincetown Independent is Outer Cape Cod’s only locally owned newspaper — and we’re the most widely read paper here, too. We believe high-quality homegrown news can bring you closer to your neighbors and to this outermost community.
Our stories celebrate all that is good here, in a place that’s proud of its tradition of welcoming separatists and strangers and creative people of all kinds. We also delve into the challenges to be faced on the far end of this sandbar. Every Thursday, we publish stories for and about the people who live and work in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham, and those who love this place from afar.
We are grateful to be in a community that sees how having our own newspaper does matter. We need you by our sides — reading, writing, and spreading the word that there is hope for local journalism. Drop us a line by clicking this link.
— Teresa Parker, Publisher, and Ed Miller, Editor
The people of the Independent are devoted to producing truth-seeking reporting on our towns, community organizations, the arts, science and the environment, health and health care, education, children, family life, LGBTQ community concerns, fishing and farming, the local economy, and the unique and sometimes eccentric culture of this place.
We are also grateful for the perspectives and creative talents of a diverse group of freelance correspondents. When you pick up the paper, don’t forget to have a look at the masthead on page two, where we list the names of our contributors to the current issue.
(Our team photos page is getting an update. Back soon…)
Are you ready to take a leadership role as deputy editor or arts editor? We need you! Same if you are a reporter ready to focus on community journalism. We are also looking for business-minded people with administrative skills who care about our cause. Learn about these jobs at the Indie and how to apply.
How You Can Help
Become an owner of the Indie
The newspaper is a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation, which means we are a company committed to prioritizing the social benefit of our work. We are hugely grateful to a small group of investors who have enabled us to launch the Independent. They are listed here, in our Benefit Reports.
With our “proof of concept” well underway, we are now working to raise the rest of our start-up capital: funds we know we need to grow and thrive. On July 28, 2022, we launched a Direct Public Offering, taking a community investment crowdfunding approach, offering shares in the newspaper.
We hope that broad community ownership of the Independent will help us thrive and become a sustainable part of the local economy. You can read all the details and become a shareholder by following this link to our DPO website.
Readers are our reason for being. If you’ve been browsing, we hope you’ll make the leap and sign up. Here’s where to do that.
An ad in our pages is a great way to connect with people in this special place. And when you advertise in the Independent, your dollars stay here in the community, working to rebuild local journalism. We thank the local businesses who are in our pages. Here’s how to join them.
Donate to the Local Journalism Project
Gifts to our nonprofit partner project support the next generation of reporters. With your help, they challenge and inspire us, and their writing enriches our community. They are at the heart of our commitment to creating a future for local journalism.
The project aspires to do more. What about working with local schools, perhaps creating a journalism program at our regional high school? Events for upstart news organizations from other places? Workshops on local civics and elections? Housing for our fellows? We can’t do it all yet. We are small and staffed only by our volunteer board.
Follow this link to the Local Journalism Project’s own website for profiles of our fellows, information on how to apply, and news about events. Works by our aspiring journalists are posted on the Indie website for all to read (they are outside our paywall, so may be read even by those who are not subscribers).
What is the Local Journalism Project?
Thousands of America’s newspapers have closed in the last 20 years. The Independent is part of a movement to rebuild what is being lost, and we think we can make a difference by starting at the grassroots, where we live, restoring community journalism from the damage done by corporate consolidation that reached this place and has decimated many newspapers on Cape Cod. We believe this work is essential to the survival of democracy.
As we worked to launch the newspaper in 2019, we saw that to succeed at our business mission — to produce a high-quality community newspaper — we would also need to pursue an educational mission. We started a nonprofit organization, the Local Journalism Project, to take that on.
The project’s focus so far has been to help prepare the next generation of reporters and editors. This is fundamental: the principles and skills of excellent journalism are endangered by the loss of so many newspapers, because with them meaningful jobs in everything from reporting to design to editorial and publishing leadership have disappeared. In many cases, those who might have pursued journalism find themselves instead in “content creation” work that is guided by the ends and practices of marketing and social media, which make no commitment to the public good.
Inviting aspiring journalists into our newsroom changes the jobs our experienced journalists play, engaging us in mentoring and teaching and exposing us to new questions and insights. Our work with aspiring reporters is a challenge that makes us hopeful about the future of journalism.
Community education is also part of the Local Journalism Project’s mission. The project has organized informal conversations at libraries and hosted leaders including Charlie Sennott, a founder of Report for America, on the disappearance of newspapers and his organization’s efforts to bring up-and-coming reporters into the field; Robert Kuttner and Drew Faust joined us to talk with community leaders about the historical roots of threats to democracy — and hope for countering those threats; we paired one of our journalism fellows, Josephine de la Bruyère, with civil rights lawyer Martin Garbus and Wellfleet Police Chief Michael Hurley on what makes for responsible crime reporting; and we heard from Congressman Jamie Raskin and former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow on her book Saving the News.
Last spring, with support from the Provincetown Arts Society, we hosted writers and journalists from near and far, all of whom have a love of Provincetown, for readings from Mary Heaton Vorse’s Time and the Town. This year we will delve into her writings on women’s rights. We’ll also be hosting readings from Henry Beston’s The Outermost House at the Inn at the Oaks in Eastham.
P.S. Why would anyone start a new newspaper?
People ask us why we have started the Independent at a time when there is so much to read about the death of local journalism. Researchers are busy mapping America’s growing “news deserts.” We are studying those dynamics so that we can make good choices about how to become sustainable.
Newspapers are not as profitable as they were in pre-internet years. Facebook and Google have eaten up a big chunk of the industry’s advertising revenues — income that made newspapers profitable in the past and kept subscription prices low.
But that’s not the whole story. There has been tremendous consolidation of news organizations in recent years, too, and with that, pressure to reach impossibly inflated profit targets. Deep cost cutting has followed. Left without the resources to do good reporting, pursue relevant stories, follow up, and listen well, many newspapers have disappointed their readers. Apathy about the importance of journalism has been a result.
The good news is that we have been talking to local newspaper publishers across the country who are succeeding, especially at community-focused weeklies. Their stories have encouraged us to believe that, instead of worrying, we could do something to turn the tide.
Having a good local newspaper turns out to be good for everyone, because research shows that in communities where local newspapers have closed people don’t understand each other as well, and their views become more polarized. Where there is less news coverage, fewer people vote. In towns without newspapers, bond ratings drop and borrowing costs go up.
We’re not about to let that happen here. There’s real joy in this, because a newspaper is, after all, a community’s way of seeking the true stories of itself. Having a good one will keep us all learning, connected, and ready for the next generation.
We are thankful to have advice from journalists like David W. Dunlap, Bob Kuttner, Dan Okrent, Jodi Kantor, Ron Lieber, Louis Black, Stephen Kinzer, Dan Kennedy, C.J. Janovy, Lance Knobel, Dick Meyer, Ed Maroney, and Bill Hough, who inspire us in so many ways.
We are grateful for your encouragement, and look forward to your questions and involvement.