New Year's Resolution — Support Your Community Newspaper
By Barbara A. Preston | January 5, 2023
The cost of paper and postage have skyrocketed this past year. The Montgomery News, your community newspaper, is suffering from the ill effects of inflation, along with all other local small businesses in town. The newspaper survived two major recessions — in 2008 and 2020 — that wiped out some local businesses and potential advertisers, which provide most of the revenue and income to newspapers and digital outlets in small and mid-sized communities.
The paper survived the COVID pandemic so far, and our building is still standing on Orchard Road in Skillman — despite Hurricane Ida's best efforts to wash it away. Will it survive the crippling inflation that has come our way, with talk of another recession?
Now is the time to come off the sidelines and begin supporting local news.
The Bigger Picture
Lydia Polgreen, an Opinion columnist for The New York Times, writes: "The bigger picture for local journalism is catastrophic." "Northwestern University’s Local News Initiative put out a report in June on the state of local news, and its findings were grim. "Since 2005, more than a quarter of the country’s newspapers have closed. Those that survive have shed journalists at an alarming rate: There are roughly 60 percent fewer journalists working in newspapers today than in 2005."
Turning a Profit
Print newspaper advertising, which has historically furnished 75 to 90 percent of total revenue, is at an all-time low and continues to decline. Making matters worse, as much as 75 percent of the dollars devoted to digital advertising in even the smallest markets go to corporate giants such as Facebook and Google, leaving all other media outlets – radio, television, online and print – to fight over the remainder, according to Penny Muse Abernathy, author of "Expanding News Deserts." The Montgomery News is committed to its mission as "The Voice of Your Community."
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Our Core Team
The paper is possible thanks to a core team: Our publisher, Montgomery resident N. M. Silverstein; and, our tiny army of hard working and tireless local staff members: Master of Special Projects Karen Dentler (a Montgomery resident and author who heads up our weekly newsletter, sells ads, and does a little of everything); Advertising Manager Sarah Kauzmann (a Montgomery High School graduate); and associate editors Rikki N. Massand (a Montgomery resident with two kids) and Anna Reinalda (Rocky Hill). We depend on our part-time Ad Salesperson Joselyn Preston; our invaluable and underpaid freelance writers; our amazing interns; our volunteer Calendar Editor Maria Kauzmann of Skillman, and, Joanne Pfeffer, who keeps our bills paid.
What Can You Do to Help?
You can best support your local newspaper by taking out an ad! Rates start at $25 for a classified and extend up to $2,000 for a full back page. We refer to our advertisers as sponsors, because your ad dollars go directly to fund our print and mail costs, and to sustain our small staff. In return, our advertisers do reach an impressive audience. Montgomery is ranked as the eighth wealthiest town in New Jersey. The median household income is $196,857 in Montgomery Township, compared to the NJ median income of $89,703. (Suburbs101.com) Advertising can be a tax write-off for your business. Check with your accountant.
However, the number one reason why we believe you should advertise is: Local news reporters and editors are friends and advocates to the community, and serve a valuable public good. As Columnist Polgreen puts it: "The loss of local journalism has been accompanied by the malignant spread of misinformation and disinformation, political polarization, and eroding trust in media... In communities without a credible source of local news, voter participation declines, corruption in both government and business increases, and local residents end up paying more in taxes and at checkout."