Readers who caught a glimpse of The Northeast News’ front page this week surely noticed that it is empty. Our editorial team made this design decision to give you a peek into the potential future of hyper-local news providers like The Northeast News.
Imagine a world where people only get their news from social media. Better yet, imagine a Northeast where residents and neighbors don’t get the news. While many in the ZIP codes the paper serves have the privilege of internet at home, like many urban core areas in Kansas City and throughout the U.S., more than a few do not, and they rely on this print product for vital information.
Since the onset of the pandemic at the beginning of last year, The Northeast News has – in addition to its regular news coverage – provided information on COVID-19, small business assistance, school closures, healthcare, testing, and now vaccinations. This information has been crucial to some of the city’s most vulnerable populations, many who live in Northeast.
The Northeast News is proud to remain a free service to the community for nearly 90 years, never charging subscription fees or putting up paywalls for any type of content. Even as a “for profit” company, none of the staff is in it for the money. Journalism is a public service playing by the rules of private enterprise, and it’s not profitable. Because its publisher sees the value in providing local news to an under-served community, The Northeast News relies largely on advertisers to keep the lights on and the presses running.
Through the years, the paper has been supported by ads from local businesses like Snyder’s Supermarket, a regular advertiser for close to 50 years, and everything from neighbors getting the word out about their yard sales, handymen, realtors, schools, and so many more. We are proud to partner with such a strong and diverse business community the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce supports.
When the coronavirus had many small businesses scrambling to make ends meet, ads were the first thing to go, and paper’s ad revenue dropped. Now, with more and more Kansas Citians being vaccinated daily, our vibrant city is on the rebound. The Northeast News offers competitive rates to advertisers both new and returning, and can help your business create or expand its online presence.
Residents of Northeast and beyond can support Northeast News advertisers, who themselves are often small business owners, immigrants, artists, non-profits, neighbors and entrepreneurs. For those who have moved to the Northeast for its historic homes, its diversity, character or charm, consider shopping small, hiring a local handyman or lawn service, and spending your dollars in the community where you live, even if that means paying a little bit more.
The Northeast News employs your neighbors and longtime advocates for the community. Nearly everyone on its staff lives right here in the neighborhoods they cover. Behind the scenes, even more are employed stuffing, rolling and delivering the paper each week.
Is local journalism dying? The short answer is no. As for the long answer, that’s more complicated. Being embedded in the community it serves, The Northeast News holds an immeasurable value for the eight neighborhoods that are regularly under-served by larger metro news outlets. They may show up for a half hour of coverage when there’s a homicide, a car chase or a fire, but that’s the extent of coverage this often forgotten corner of Kansas City gets without The Northeast News. We’re here in the aftermath.
At The Northeast News we work tirelessly to enable access to news and information for all, create opportunities for young journalists to learn, amplify unheard voices in the community, and cultivate a publication by and for the people of Northeast. That being said, we do rely on this community for support.
The truth is, we have a 60 day lifespan if something doesn’t change. The Northeast News is produced every week on a shoestring budget. We’ve been desperate before. Many will remember in 2017 when we thought our doors would close. Since then, we’ve done everything in our power to continue our mission of providing community centered news to the Northeast.
We’d like to thank our readers, supporters, advertisers and community partners for allowing us to do such fulfilling work for the community we call home.
We know we aren’t perfect. If you’ve found yourself disagreeing with our coverage, let’s have that conversation. The fact is, we can’t improve if we’re not around. And there’s no one to replace us.
If you find yourself frustrated that you aren’t reading news of the housing summit that took place over the weekend, the cleanups your neighbors organized in the parks, information about COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, or the variety of things we usually cover, take a moment to think about what could very soon be our community’s reality.
We challenge you, dear reader, to think about what value The Northeast News adds to our community. If you see its value, consider contributing a voluntary weekly subscription or making a one time donation on our website, and think about where you spend your dollars.