But with your support we can bounce back fast!
As the owners of DigBoston, it is our duty to inform our readers that we have to shut down the print edition of this publication for the second time since March 2020 effective immediately. For those of you that follow the American news industry—its local print markets in particular—this should come as no surprise. Because in addition to the several forces causing the rolling collapse of newspapers around the country, large and small, come the vicissitudes of what we might call the “long pandemic” … notably, the end of government support for small businesses of the type that saved our publication in 2020 and 2021.
In the absence of loans and grants to get us through this ongoing shock to our core revenue stream, display advertising from public-facing small businesses like bars and clubs that are suffering mightily from a much-diminished customer base in a period when many people remain justifiably afraid to hang out indoors, we can no longer afford to physically distribute our paper in boxes and racks around the Boston area.
This despite the fact that nearly five years ago we took over a news organization that was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, rebuilt sales, paid off those debts, and were just making the operation profitable when the pandemic hit. Not by ourselves, but through the excellent work of the incredibly diverse team of over 200 freelance journalists, photographers, artists, and salespeople that have worked with us to make DigBoston one of the liveliest, most relevant, and certainly most independent news outlets in the region.
None of that success would have been possible without you, our readers, remaining the most active and engaged audience that any media group could ask for. Constantly communicating with us and pushing us to be the best we can be. And supporting us directly in times of crisis, even though Dig is not a nonprofit. As we saw between March and June of 2020, when you donated a great deal of money to us just to keep us in print.
So, once again, we turn to you and ask for your support. Not as donors but as partners in the endeavor of supplying yourselves with news and views about Boston and environs that you simply cannot find anywhere else—in the interest of democracy. Which cannot flower without a strong fourth estate.
If you like what we do and want to continue to see DigBoston on the stands in Boston, Somerville, Brookline, Cambridge, Quincy, Everett, and beyond, please donate whatever you can on the web at tinyurl.com/donatetoDigBoston or mail a check to Dig Media Group Corporation, 377 Willard St. #394, Quincy, MA 02169.
To businesses that want to reach our audience of young people in Boston area communities that most other media either can’t touch or won’t touch, advertise with us. We have a growing array of digital ad products that you’ll find most useful, but just a few longer-term display advertising contracts could get us back in print within a couple of weeks—ensuring that you reach your audience whether they’re on or offline.
To people and institutions with the funds to invest and an interest in keeping solid investigative reportage and lively arts and entertainment coverage flowing hereabouts, we’re an excellent opportunity to do good by doing well. There’s still money to be made in print newspapers for those clear-eyed enough to see that an infusion of a rather small amount of capital is all that’s required to put Dig on solid financial footing for years to come. And we’re happy to connect with any potential investor and talk numbers and particulars anytime. We’re also willing to sell a majority stake in our company if that’s what it takes to keep our operation going; so seriously do we take our mandate to serve the people of Boston with the information they need to be engaged citizens and residents in these difficult times.
To Boston’s many colleges and universities, we would be very interested to discuss the idea of you investing in our publication—singly or as a consortium—and officializing the role we already play in the metropolitan news ecology: as the city’s own training newspaper for aspiring journalists.
Which may seem to be a bold claim by a publication that runs with only three full-time owner-staffers and several contract editorial and sales personnel, but we already accept 12-19 local college students to our internship program in each of our three annual cohorts. Meaning we’re presently giving 36 to nearly 60 journalism and communications students direct experience in their chosen trade every year. Many of whom have actually managed to get jobs in the news industry, despite the dearth of opportunities at present. Due in part to our developing lifetime relationships with many interns and recommending them for grad school and reporting jobs.
If a college or group of colleges anywhere in the Northeast chose to support Dig as an educational service, we could develop a ladder to long-term media employment second to none. A challenge our entire staff would be thrilled to take on. So, we are especially keen to have conversations with higher education leaders about the possibility of working together.
We have many other ideas for how individuals and institutions from a variety of economic and nonprofit sectors could support us, but for now know that we are used to thinking outside of all available boxes and are happy to discuss any proposal anyone wants to make to us, if it means that DigBoston continues to publish both print and digital editions and that we and our talented crew get to continue producing it.
In conclusion, a note to our colleagues in the press. Or more specifically, one message for our friends and another for our antagonists. To our colleagues who understand that we live in an era of cooperation between surviving news outlets, not competition, you know what to do to help us. And we know you’ll do it because you’re in this business for the same reason we are: To make a living, yes, but first and foremost because the communities we serve require a strong news media to decide how best to revive our failing democracy.
To our colleagues who have never had the courtesy to so much as mention us, even to respond to our occasional critiques of your sometimes questionable journalism: Save us your disingenuous retroactive sympathy and your mocking crocodile tears and do whatever you can to help us bring in donations, ads, and investments by sharing this editorial in your outlets. Because if we don’t work together, your necks are next on the economic chopping block. Or the political one, depending on how bad things get as one news outlet after another winks out of existence month by month, year by year … until none are left but propaganda outlets for the local, state, and federal governments and the corporations that increasingly control them.
We can be reached, as ever, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Faraone is editor-in-chief and associate publisher of DigBoston, John Loftus is its business manager and publisher, and Jason Pramas is its executive editor and associate publisher.