How do you like your Lansing news?

by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor

LANSING, Ill. (January 1, 2020) – If you rely solely on the print version of The Lansing Journal for local news, you are missing out.

We publish an average of 103 stories every month. Fewer than half of those end up in the monthly print edition. A printed newspaper has a limited number of pages and a limited amount of space, so we have to make choices about what we include in each print issue.

I’m not saying that digital is better than print. I’m saying you need both. I’m inviting you to add the daily digital version of The Lansing Journal, and receive it along with your monthly print edition.

Doing this will help you, but it will also help me. How? The Lansing Journal needs to reach at least 5,000 email subscribers in order to request help from News Revenue Hub, a business whose mission is to “help local news organizations build financial sustainability—because the public deserves access to quality journalism.”

Quality and sustainability

We have been providing our readers quality journalism since we launched in 2017, but we are not yet a financially sustainable newspaper. We are only slightly profitable—mainly because much of the work I and others do is volunteer.

If you value receiving the print edition of The Lansing Journal and would like to see our work continue and grow, please subscribe to the Daily News email and encourage others to subscribe—even if you prefer the print edition.

The digital difference

The digital edition is free and conveniently accessed through your email. And though you may feel perfectly content with the monthly print edition, please know that the digital edition has advantages too.

For one thing, as I mentioned, we publish far more content online than we can fit in print. We publish 2–5 digital articles every day, and fewer than half of those make it into print. Sometimes we have to shorten the stories or eliminate the photos to make a story fit. But there are no space limitations online, so we can publish more news articles, and include more photos, more information, and even videos in our daily digital edition.

Also, our online stories are interactive. The links are clickable, so you can directly enroll in programs, apply for jobs, or send emails. And we include buttons that make it easy to share what you’re reading. When you recognize someone in a photo, or read about an event your friends might be interested in, or want to respond to issues raised by our Village Board, Park Board, or School Boards, the online version of an article is easy to email, forward, share, and re-post.

But the main benefit we hear from our digital subscribers is simply that they like receiving local news every day. They don’t want to wait a month to find out what’s going on in our community; they want to see the new headlines each morning.

Subscribing to the digital helps the print

If we reach our goal of 5,000 new subscribers, and News Revenue Hub accepts us as a client, the assistance we receive will help sustain not only the daily digital edition, but also the monthly print edition. The print edition is our main source of revenue through advertising and readership contributions, but it is also our biggest expense:

  • It costs $1,449 to print 10,000 copies of a 24-page paper each month.
  • It costs $1,596 to mail each print issue to 9,000 Lansing homes and to deliver the remaining 1,000 to local distribution points.

That totals $36,540 every year for print production and distribution.

Compare that to our digital costs:

  • $19.99/month to host our website
  • $21.24/month to distribute our daily email
  • $19.99/month for PayPal, a system that makes it safe and easy for people to give us money online.

That totals just $734.64 per year for digital publishing and distribution.

That kind of efficiency is why News Revenue Hub chooses to focus on helping digital newspapers. But the revenue they can help us generate will support our print edition too.

So if you value the monthly print editions as tangible keepsakes and as handy reference guides for community information, please know that your digital subscription will help sustain your monthly print editions.

If we do not reach our goal of 5,000 new subscribers and are unable to show News Revenue Hub that people care enough about local news to subscribe to a free email edition, they will not help The Lansing Journal. They need to see that this community wants this newspaper.

It’s up to us.

Show that you want this newspaper

If you would like The Lansing Journal to be part of the community for many more years, this is your chance to help make that happen: Sign up for the Daily News email.

Here are two ways to sign up right now:

  1. Visit our Subscribe form and follow the instructions.
  2. Send me your email address, and I will personally sign you up: mjongsma@thelansingjournal.com

To sum up—

The Lansing Journal needs your help, and it will take you only a minute, will cost you nothing, and will reap benefits for us and for you.

I’d like to reach 5,000 email subscribers as soon as we can, because I know we need help fast. We need you—as well as your family, co-workers, and friends—to join The Lansing Journal’s email list.

If all of you who say you love The Lansing Journal will sign up for the Daily News email, we can easily reach our goal.

Let’s do this!

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