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 examine the challenges we face on the far end of this sandbar.
At the same time, we are watching with alarm what is happening to local newspapers and to journalism across the country and the world, conscious of the relationship between a vigorous free press and a democratic and just society. We are part of a growing movement to defend journalism at the grassroots. And we are grateful to be in a community that sees that it can matter to recover the capacity to report and produce local news.
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 need your insights and involvement to do that.
There is so much for a young 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, LGBTQ community concerns, fishing and farming, the local economy, and the unique and sometimes eccentric culture of this place.
We began publishing weekly, in print and online, on October 10, 2019. We are grateful for your subscriptions and to the business community around us, whose advertising supports our work. Since April 2020, when we were preparing to open our new office on the first floor of Whaler’s Wharf on Commercial Street in Provincetown, we have been working remotely. We hope to be open to the public under strict rules of hygiene and social distancing soon.
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, including four years as associate editor of the Provincetown Banner. Teresa’s background is in business development and marketing. She ran her own small company, Spanish Journeys, on the Outer Cape for 16 years. Both live year-round in Wellfleet.
We are fortunate to have two of the most experienced journalists on Cape Cod on our full-time staff: arts editor Howard Karren and senior reporter K.C. Myers. Reporters Paul Benson, Sophie Ruehr, Ryan Fitzgerald, Saskia Maxwell Keller, and Devin Sean Martin and columnists Susannah Elisabeth Fulcher, Dennis Minsky, Kai Potter, Kathy Stetson, Emma Doyle, Capt. Mike Rathgeber, John Guerra, Amy Whorf McGuiggan, Stefan Piscitelli, and John Portnoy give us their unique perspectives and writing talents. Staff photographer Nancy Bloom tells us compelling stories with her camera. And many others, including Jamie Demetriou, Edward Boches, and Marian Roth, add their photography regularly. Artists and illustrators Mark Adams, Daniel Dejean, Mary DeAngelis, A. Crock, Traci Harmon-Hay, and Ellen LeBow help our pages reflect the richness of the visual culture of this place. Designers Chris Kelly and Susan Abbott work late into the night every week to make the Independent a pleasure to look at. Molly Newman and Sian Robertson provide indispensable support with advertising, circulation, and bookkeeping. (And Molly does double duty as creator of the Home/Making section.)
There are others, too. The list of contributors to the Independent grows every week — when you pick up the paper, don’t forget to have a look at page two, the masthead where we list the names that are bringing you the news.
We are grateful to have advice from journalists like Dick Meyer, David Dunlap, and Ed Maroney, who inspire us in different ways. Also, generous practical people like Dean Stein and Curt Sharp, who quietly help to keep us working on our nonprofit effort and on finances.
The fine print
We are a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation, which means we are a company 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 launch this newspaper.
If you would like to know more about the financial part of the story and what it means to be an investor, 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, a Massachusetts tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Its purpose is to educate and inform through critical investigative reporting and public programs like our 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 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.
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.
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 grateful for your encouragement, and look forward to your questions and involvement.