The following administrative article was written by Greg Pruett, Editor of the Idaho Dispatch.
Idaho Dispatch is just days away from our second anniversary, and one big question looms: Will we be able to continue for the third year?
It was June 3, 2020, when Idaho Dispatch officially launched. The readership has steadily increased since then, and we have amassed over 2.2 million page views since then.
The biggest discussion for the Idaho Dispatch and our readers is determining whether there is a necessity for our product to continue, the time to make it work, and the financial support it needs?
Let’s tackle each of those topics separately.
Is there a necessity for the product?
Of course, I would argue that there is a necessity. However, I believe that there is a significant gap in media coverage where the articles aren’t pushing an agenda on you or are entirely one-sided.
Too many news outlets on both sides make no genuine attempt at balancing their stories, and many don’t allow all sides of a story to speak out.
The goal of the Idaho Dispatch was to leave out the hyperbole used by so many outlets, balance stories fairly, and do everything we could to leave out bias. We have done our best to fulfill those goals over the last two years.
We aren’t perfect, of course, but despite calls by some readers for us to become a one-sided outlet, we refuse to do so.
Over the last two years, we have seen many comments from readers saying they enjoy Idaho Dispatch because of how we do the news. One reader, a former journalist, said a detailed report of our coverage during the BLM protests in Boise was how journalism was done 40 years ago.
If we can’t do Idaho Dispatch the right way, I don’t want to do it all.
I believe the Idaho Dispatch is necessary, but can it flourish financially?
Remember, Idaho Dispatch is NOT funded by major donors or big corporations.
Idaho Dispatch is funded by individual subscribers and a handful of small business advertisers.
We don’t want to have just one big entity funding our operation because we don’t want to be beholden to anyone. Additionally, we don’t want our entire operation to end simply because someone pulls their funding.
That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t accept a major donation, but the terms of that donation would be clear: We will cover all stories the same as we always have, and no contribution will change that.
Our goal for our second anniversary is to have 350 monthly subscribers. Right now, we are at 352 subscribers!
However, we gain and lose subscribers every day, so I hope you might be willing to subscribe for as little as $2.97 a month to help us grow.
We want to make sure we hit our goal by June 3.
The only way we can continue in the end is if we have enough supporters to be able to hire more individuals to help us write actual news articles.
That’s it. That is how we can continue long-term or not at all.
The final point then is, can we make it work in time?
For those that don’t know, I have a full-time job that I do already. The Idaho Dispatch is an additional workload that I have taken on.
There are other opportunities I have that would honestly be much more successful financially. The news business is tough, especially at a time when people distrust the news.
The Idaho Dispatch is meant to be something “different” and unique, which was really just to do journalism the way it was done a long time ago.
While we are grateful for our current 352 subscribers, the question is, how long will it take to get many more in a timely fashion?
Certainly, we aren’t expecting to have the whole operation at the same level as one that has been around for a long time. It will be a grind to get where we want to be.
Ideally, Idaho Dispatch would have, at a minimum, one reporter for up north, one in the Treasure Valley, and then one down in the far southern part of Idaho. So that’s a total of three reporters.
If we pay those individuals $1,000 a month for two articles a week, we would need 36,000 monthly subscribers. So that means we would need 12,000 subscribers (at $2.97 each) to cover their salaries.
We would need even more subscribers to have a salary for the Editor and other subscribers to cover the costs of daily operations.
While advertising does help, without the addition of a major donor, can we make this work without waiting 50 years to get to the subscriber level we need? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to that question yet.
For now, we need to make sure we are at 350 subscribers when June 3 hits in a few days, and I have a meeting with my wife and the other owners of the Dispatch.
So, if you aren’t already, please consider becoming a monthly subscriber today or making a one-time donation to help our efforts!
Tags: Idaho Dispatch, News