65 years of The Charlotte News — Time to give back

Make no bones about it: I am here to ask for your financial support for community journalism.

You could think of it as a voluntary subscription fee. Many folks here in Charlotte are happy to pay for the paper (and website). Someone needs to pay to print this “free,” nonprofit newspaper and it might as well be … us! Why? Stay with me for a moment, OK?

First off, you may be wondering, “What is a community newspaper?” How is it different? How is it better than say conventional news outlets or social media? Well, it’s not better. But it’s vital in creating a cohesive, connected community. It is literally a newspaper (and website) for the people and by the people. Many of the stories you read in The Charlotte News are written by the people of Charlotte, the experts, as it were, like the folks at the library, the Grange and the senior center.

This is also an independent paper, not a part of a conglomerate or consortium. So, we answer to the reader, who, as it happens, provides half of our funding. In a way, our owners are our readers. And that’s a model that works. Maybe you didn’t know that The Charlotte News is powered by people like you?

According to the Institute for Nonprofit News, newspapers like The Charlotte News are more important than ever because they “give a voice to the people and protect our right to know what’s going on in our communities, our country and our world.”

So how does that work?

The newspaper provides a place for deliberative, thoughtful and civil discourse.

Free for all?
The spring dustup over our town budget may seem like a distant memory to some; it’s probably a painful one for at least a few. Everybody seemed to have something to say. We saw assertions and counter assertions. There was bad behavior and there were malcontents. There was great conviction and heated debate. Most folks stayed out of it but followed along, of course, particularly on social media. As with many such things, there were plenty of opinions and very little clarity.

Now this is not a knock on social media. For example, Front Porch Forum plays an important role in so many things — from finding and selling stuff to hearing how some of our neighbors think. It gives people a platform. That said, social media is not journalism. Journalism is defined as “the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.” There is little or no fact-checking on social media. It’s a kind of free-for-all, and, in a way, that’s what makes it fun.

Nonprofit news helps us better understand our neighbors. And when we understand each other, all kinds of things become possible.

Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby!
However, at The Charlotte News, cooler heads prevail. Facts are presented, various views are aired and civility is the norm. That type of healthy dialog is essential in connecting us as a community. Nonprofit news helps us better understand our neighbors. And when we understand each other, all kinds of things become possible. In fact, the strategic plan of The Charlotte News includes this goal: “Make Charlotte an even more attractive place to live, better governed and a stronger community.” It’s a tall order. Can you help us get there?

Even though small news outlets are folding right and left, this newspaper (and website) have been fortunate in receiving strong support from readers like you. And you probably understand that The Charlotte News costs quite a bit of money to produce (about $6k per issue) even though every household in town gets it for free. Isn’t it time to pitch in?

Giving back
Here at the Charlotte News, we are marking our 65th year. Our celebration focuses on giving back. We are supporting numerous events that bring us together as a community — from the Town Beach Party to Music at the Beach and Grange on the Green. We are also partnering with Age Well so that when you make your donation, we will provide one meal to a Charlotter facing food insecurity. So, your donation does double duty.

Won’t you celebrate our birthday, too?
If it makes sense for your budget, put $10 or $20 a month on your credit card, just as you’d do to support public radio, for instance. It’s easy: simply go to the “Give Now” page on our website. If you prefer to write a check, send it to P.O. Box 251, Charlotte VT 05445.

Every donation – even just a few dollars – helps us move ahead. Helps us do more digging and more storytelling. Let’s tee up The Charlotte News to tell our stories for the next 65 years.

Never made a gift?
Give now and double your impact. Thanks to a generous grant from the Lionheart Charitable Trust, all first-time gifts will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $2,000.