The Cost of Eggs
To the editor:
I heartily agree with Peter Clemons’s view that the Provincetown Independent is a treasured local news resource that deserves our support [letter, May 18, page A2].
Independent local journalism has certainly suffered hard times over the past decade or so. But many skillfully managed indies have overcome the myriad social and economic challenges threatening their existence. Success stories beyond the Provincetown Independent are diverse and span the nation.
The Storm Lake Times Pilot is a thriving left-leaning family-owned biweekly newspaper in the middle of the bright red state of Iowa. El Tecolote is also a biweekly, founded in 1970 as a journalism class project at San Francisco State University, published by a nonprofit organization, and serving mainly the Mission District of San Francisco. The Pilot in Southern Pines, N.C., which has a weekly circulation of 15,000, has found a way to produce high-quality journalism for more than a century in a town with a population of 16,000. And the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, which traces its origins back to 1789, was restored to journalistic excellence after being rescued from corporate ownership by a group of local investors in 2016.
Keys to the success of regional independent news sources include a strong commitment to the community and a business plan that relies less on advertising and more on subscriptions, grants, and donations. Some independents have developed their own not-for-profit entities to facilitate tax-deducible giving, while others have forged relationships with philanthropic collaboratives. The Provincetown Independent has its Local Journalism Project (which we should all support) while the Storm Lake Times Pilot receives tax-deductible contributions through the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation.
After subscribing to the Storm Lake Times Pilot to support independent local journalism, I began reading its richly rewarding editorial pages regularly to learn what matters to rural Iowans. I learned that a bird flu outbreak in a Storm Lake poultry facility required euthanizing 5.3 million egg-laying hens, which helped explain the sudden increase in the cost of eggs in Massachusetts last year.