|The sign on the side of the Shawangunk Journal's building is purposely backwards. (Amberly Jane Cambpell photo)|
"Times are tough for little newspapers everywhere, but the papers least likely to survive are those that have fallen under the control of hedge-fund and private-equity chains, which are starving them into short-term profitability and longer-term demise," Fallows writes. "The successful counter-examples are mainly family-owned, community-owned, or in some other way bolstered against the pressure to cut the publication into insignificance."
|Ellenville, New York (Wikipedia map)|
The Journal does this in steps: After an introductory offer expires, articles cost nonsubscribers 25 cents apiece. "For as long as the internet has existed, I’ve heard journalism leaders talk about the coming era of micropayments. Here’s a tiny newspaper in rural New York that has put the plan into effect," Fallows writes. "Subscribers to the paper, for as little as a few dollars a month, get unlimited access to its articles. Occasional visitors can sample the stories for a low price, with the hope and expectation that some of them will be attracted to become long-term readers and subscribers."
Shiffer and Richman's daughter is doing her part to cultivate future subscribers and, possibly, journalists. Jasmine, a 17-year-senior, was annoyed that her school didn't have a newspaper, so she created a student-run news app called The Devil's Advocate that local teens update daily. Jasmine told Fallows she plans to stay involved in student journalism at least through college.