We are building a homegrown news organization for Outer Cape Cod: the people who live and work in Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham, and those who love this place from afar.
Our vision is to find stories that bring you closer to your neighbors and to this outermost community. We want to celebrate all that is good here, in a place that’s proud of its tradition of welcoming separatists and strangers. We also plan to delve into the challenges we face on the far end of this sandbar.
We hope you will help us find the stories that need telling and the people who can tell them best. We trust you will let us know when we’ve got it wrong. Please keep in touch with us as we grow and pursue these ideals. We’re going to need your insights and involvement to do that.
There is so much for a fledgling news organization like this one to grow into. We are aiming for truth-seeking reporting on our towns, community organizations, the arts, science and the environment, health and health care, education, children, family life, fishing and farming, the local economy, and the unique and sometimes eccentric culture of this place.
We began publishing weekly, in print and online, starting October 10, 2019. We are so grateful for your subscriptions and to the business community around us, whose advertising supports our work.
The team behind the Independent is led by editor Edward Miller and publisher Teresa Parker. Ed has been a journalist for more than 40 years, most recently as associate editor of the Provincetown Banner. Teresa has a background in business development and marketing and has run her own small company, Spanish Journeys, on the Outer Cape for 16 years. Both live year-round in Wellfleet.
We are inspired by the many talented people who make their lives, or part of their lives, here. The list of contributors to the Independent is growing every week — when you pick up the paper, don’t forget to have a look at the masthead where every week we list the names that are bringing you the news.
The fine print
We are a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation, which means we are a company that is committed to prioritizing the social and environmental benefits of our corporate decision-making. We are hugely grateful to those who have already invested to enable us to make this beginning.
If you would like to know more about the financial part of the story, please get in touch directly. We would be happy to talk with you.
Our goal is to develop broad community-minded ownership of the Independent as a way of guaranteeing its long-term sustainability and its responsiveness to the needs and interests of its readers.
At the same time, we have established a nonprofit initiative, the Local Journalism Project, within the Center for the Study of Public Policy. Its purpose is to educate and inform through critical investigative reporting and public programs like our planned Open Newsrooms in local libraries, and to support up-and-coming journalists with internships, fellowships, and reporting opportunities.
Let’s turn the tide for local journalism
If you’re still reading, maybe that’s because you have been following stories about the death of local journalism. Researchers are busy mapping America’s growing “news deserts.” We are working to understand 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 out-of-date 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.
All this worries us. But 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.
Let’s not let that happen here. Let’s launch the Independent instead! There’s going to be some 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 grateful for your encouragement, and look forward to your questions and involvement.