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"I was on the phone the other day with a source at a powerful local institution. I’m paraphrasing here, but they said something like: 'It used to be that you couldn’t sneeze around here without it ending up in the paper. Now, nobody is paying attention.' The same could be said of many city councils, businesses, courts, police stations and other power centers across our region. As news companies continue to slash staffing, it’s local democracy and accountability that suffer. That’s where outlets like The Shoestring can step in, covering topics like organized labor, mass incarceration and so much more."
-Dusty Christensen, Northampton reporter
It's no secret: local news is in dire straits around the country. This trend has been shown to undermine democratic institutions in places that become "news deserts," as uninformed publics govern in the absence of critical information, or worse, cease believing they can have a meaningful impact in their community at all. Western Massachusetts has so far been spared from the worst impacts of the decline of traditional news, but as legacy media in our area endures year after year of layoffs, we can see which way the wind is blowing.
The Shoestring is part of a new trend in non-profit local media. We exist not to turn reporting into profit, but to turn donations into meaningful local news. And while this means we are able to accept foundation grants, by far our most reliable source of revenue is donations from our community. It's thanks to the generosity of our readers we've been able to pay local writers competitive rates to cover local stories for over five years now.
After sustaining quality reporting for years on a shoestring budget, we're expanding our efforts to fundraise to ensure The Shoestring is built to last. This means a serious commitment to making a difficult ask: Can you pitch in today to help us get there?
For those who care about sustaining independent news in western Massachusetts, you can't do much better than donating to an organization used to operating on small monthly donations — we have five years' experience in stretching your gift into the most coverage possible. With no printing costs or office overhead, almost all of your donation will go towards paying local people to research, write, record, edit, and publish the local news that matters most to you.
Thank you so much for reading and supporting. While you're here, please share this page on social media or however you reach your people! We need all the support we can get to keep independent news alive in Western Mass.
ABOUT US: The Shoestring is an independent news publication in Western Massachusetts that provides in-depth and accurate journalism covering local politics, culture, and power. We bring you the stories, perspectives, and context that no one else does, from Northampton and across the Connecticut River Valley.
Read more at theshoestring.org
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