In the summer of 2007, while bouncing around as a freelance writer, I made a call to my journalism friend Martin Wilbur that changed our lives forever. I had an idea, to launch a local paper, by soliciting editorial help from our newspaper pals and acquaintances in and around Westchester, while also securing advertising support from the bagel shops and pizza joints I frequented. In the second week of September, after a frenzied, sleepless, six weeks, The Examiner was born, as I helped distribute about 2,000 of our debut copies around Pleasantville and Mount Kisco.
Since then, we’ve launched three additional print newspapers, along with a news website, and have grown our audience to 100,000+ readers across Westchester and Putnam counties. But a few weeks ago, as the coronavirus gripped the economy with a stranglehold, it all almost came crashing down.
In recent weeks, after painful layoffs, we’ve reinvented ourselves on the fly, becoming essentially a daily newspaper online, thinking digital first, breaking stories on our website, our social media and our email newsletter, and selling more website ad space than before while continuing to produce a first-rate print product. Yet financial dangers still lurk as the mandated shutdown of businesses statewide annihilates our local advertising revenue source.
I’ve never asked for donations before, but it’s easy to set pride aside for simple reasons: I’m passionate about local news and our commitment to fact-checked, professionally-reported newspaper journalism. We might have started a dozen years ago as a Little-Engine-That-Could publishing company, and still maintain that culture, but, setting modesty aside, we’ve grown into a vital local institution bigger and more important than any reservations I might have about seeking support from our loyal readers.
The bottomline: the coronavirus reporting fund I’m revealing here today is an endeavor I’d enthusiastically support even if I wasn’t so intimately involved with the founding, maintenance and growth of Examiner Media. It’s my responsibility to our staff, to our advertisers and to our readers to advocate aggressively for this organization, for this mission. And I’m proud to do so.
That’s why I’m excited to announce the introduction of our COVID-19 Local News Fund. You can make TAX-DEDUCTIBLE, charitable donations to our cause. We’ve partnered with a wonderful nonprofit, the Local Media Foundation, a Section 501(c)(3) organization, to allow you the opportunity to support our mission while receiving the TAX BENEFIT of contributing to charity.
Before being a newspaperman, I’m a family man, and I’m passionate about our daughters growing up in a region rich with community news.
If you’re generous enough to give, we’ll make every penny count. Click here: Examiner - COVID-19 Local News Fund.