Local and regional journalism is in financial trouble and under attack – which means we’re all in trouble. As a radio news report said a few months ago, “You want to know what happened at the town council meeting this week? Or the zoning commission? Or just around the block? Good luck to you in too many communities now.”
In our states and regions and communities, reporting staffs have been eviscerated. Do you know what are your elected officials doing? How can we keep them accountable? Recent studies show that governments are less efficient and more corrupt as news coverage diminishes. (And this is true of more organizations than just governments.) We pride ourselves on being a people who govern ourselves, but how can we do that without solid information?
For people in Idaho, the Idaho Weekly Briefing (and predecessor publications) has been answering these questions for years. We forego the usual run of house fires, criminal cases and cute pet stories that preoccupies too much of what is left of local news media.
We deliver reports, analysis, some original and some from source documents (with links to sources), following Idaho’s members of Congress, business and economic developments, demographic changes, shifts in the education community and in the state’s environment, and much more.
Packaged in an e-magazine generally 40 to 50 pages in length – easy to either scan quickly or read in depth – and delivered once a week, it compiles what Idahoans and anyone else interested in the state need to know about how their state is changing. And what it’s like right now.
I’m Randy Stapilus, the Briefing’s editor and publisher. I was a newspaper editor and reporter in Idaho for years before launching about a dozen books and several periodicals about the state. My weekly column runs in newspapers from (among others) Boise/Nampa to Twin Falls, Lewiston and Pocatello.
The Idaho Weekly Briefing is read by legislators, activists, government and business leaders, and interested citizens, has always been sustained by subscription fees. We’re launching this campaign to make the Weekly Briefing free of charge, freely available, through e-mail or download. No paywall, no ads, no subsidiary income stream.
Today we feel the public need for this information is becoming much broader.
So we’re launching this campaign to pay for the time and expense of producinng a quality weekly news publication – and measure the level of interest in receiving it. Our plan is to make the Weekly Briefing available free of charge and freely available, through e-mail or download from our website. There will be no paywall, and no subsidiary income stream.
We have a basic goal of $6,000 to underwrite a year’s worth of Briefings – a low cost, to be sure. That will keep the Briefing going as a free-access publication, through the year to come.
But we want to continue to raise additional funds to make the Briefing more than it is now. We’d like to add additional features, news and investigative articles from writers around the state, mid-week updates, possibly polling and support for additional research, and much more. The more funding we receive, the more we can do.
How strong can we make this effort at independent news reporting? That’s up to you.
As another writer on IndieGoGo said about their effort, “This campaign is about so much more than money. It’s about community – because success as a writer requires a huge backing of people who believe that it’s possible, and want to be a force in making it happen.”
If we make this work, you can of course get your copy of the Briefing by every Monday morning (usually delivered on Sunday evening). But if you support this campaign, we have additional perks available.
Aside from contributing – and please do, if you can – you can help in other ways.
First, tell other people about this campaign. Spread the word through you social media and other avenues, and tell them about it when you speak to them in person. And you can use the sharing tool at IndieGogo.
Second, suggest additional features, researches and other elements that would fit into the Briefing and its associated blog.
And third, contribute – ideas, articles, opinions. We want to crowdsource the Briefing as well as crowdfund it!
The Idaho Weekly Briefing is a prototype. If we can make it work in Idaho … with you as a contributor as well as a supporter … it could launch more efforts around the country. We’d like to change the way news is collected and delivered. We want you to be part of that change.
You can reach us at:
Share on Facebook