Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Editorial: Enjoying the benefits of building community

by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor

LANSING, Ill. (April 1, 2020) – I wondered if we would be able to produce a print edition of The Lansing Journal this month.

The economic uncertainties triggered by the spread of the coronavirus have affected the business plans of The Lansing Journal and our partner, The Shopper, as well as those of local organizations who regularly advertise in the print version of this newspaper. Advertising dollars are what pay for ink, paper, press time, and postage, so that we can print, mail, and distribute 10,000 copies to homes and businesses in Lansing and beyond. As I write this, I’m still not sure if or how or when our plans might move forward. We are all being forced to regroup, reset, rethink, and re-consider.

Community organizations working together

In a March 19 email, I reached out to all the organizations who have ever advertised with us. “The Lansing Journal is a small business too,” I wrote, “and we are trying to figure out how we can serve our community in unique ways during these uncertain times. Obviously we need advertisers in order to afford to print and mail this issue, but I understand that money is tight and everyone’s plans are up in the air. So if you would like to advertise in the April Lansing Journal — you can set your own price.”

This was a risky move — but Lansing’s response was amazing. Regular advertisers who had considered pulling out this month agreed to advertise anyway. New advertisers stepped up as well. And almost everyone paid full price. There was a mutual understanding that by working together — some paying more, some paying less — we could all continue to communicate with our community at a time when communication is so important.

So please, if you receive the April 1 print issue, notice the ads and sponsored content throughout those pages. They represent our community businesses, schools, churches, and government. They represent people who made an investment in reaching out during tough times. These organizations deserve our attention and our patronage.

Community members working together

Advertising dollars are not the only revenue that made the April print issue possible. The Lansing Journal is also supported by ordinary readers who send in donations.

Many of them signed up as monthly contributors before the word “coronavirus” was even in our vocabulary. They made contributions simply because they loved having their own newspaper reporting on their own community.

And a few signed up as contributors even after the coronavirus began to affect our economy. That kind of courageous generosity is inspiring to me, and I am grateful.

So I hope you’ll also read each name that is printed in the “Thank-You” section below. Those names are real people who are giving real money so that all of us can enjoy the printed newspaper and the online version and the daily email. Their occasional checks, one-time donations, and monthly gifts have helped ensure that The Lansing Journal can continue to provide helpful local information when our community needs it most.

When to build community

Experts will tell you that the best time to prepare for an emergency is before an emergency happens. The same is true of building a community — ideally you want to be building it during good times, so that when disaster happens, solid relationships are already in place.

Unlike emergency situations, however, it’s never too late to start building community and seeing the benefits. Businesses can go ahead even today and join the Lansing Area Chamber — it’s a business community that shares ideas, encouragement, and referrals that can sustain you during tough times. Families can make their plans now to attend events at Fox Pointe as soon as the season is able to open — it’s a community venue where new connections happen, connections that make a difference when life starts getting crazy. Church members can begin today to learn Facebook or Zoom or whatever their church is using to keep people connected now — those digital community-building tools will be useful for maintaining other relationships in your life as well.


Just three months ago, on January 1, when we began a campaign to expand the community of people who support and subscribe to The Lansing Journal, I understood only vaguely how important that community would be. Today, on April 1, the value is measurable. Because of community support, The Lansing Journal is in a position to keep publishing in some form, and to keep helping the business community, the church community, our school districts, and our community of readers at large who write to thank us for keeping them informed.

Thank you for your support. We are seeing the benefits — and you are too.

By building community together, we enjoy the benefits together, for today and into whatever the future holds.

Thank you, March supporters

Courageous generosity from the people listed below makes it possible for The Lansing Journal to publish local news every day. We are grateful for their support, and we hope you will join us in thanking them:

  • Lindsey and Saad Abbasy
  • Karen Adams
  • American Legion Auxiliary
  • Susan Bovino
  • John Bush
  • Maryann Centracchio
  • June and John Cole
  • Greg and Jane Compeau
  • Marlene Cook
  • Diane Costello
  • Kerry Czarobski
  • Lauragene Davia
  • Patrica Deckinga
  • Sandy DeVries
  • Joan Douma
  • Barb Dust
  • Rich Dust
  • Judith Friesema
  • Tina Funchion
  • Jacob Gourley
  • Patty Grigutis
  • Ted Hnatusko
  • Marjorie Holme
  • Mark Hornung
  • Jim Janssen
  • Melanie Jongsma
  • Pat Kremer
  • Pamela Lancy
  • Barb and Clem Lessner
  • Jim and Suzanne Long
  • Kathleen Maanum
  • Krista McSwiggan
  • Dr. Wes Molenaar
  • Joyce Mulder
  • Nauta Enterprises
  • Mary Beth Palka
  • Vivian Payne
  • Moira Peterson
  • Richard Podgorski
  • Rosemarie Polgar
  • Jay and Chris Popp
  • Joanne Pritchard
  • Jean Qualls
  • Penelope Rellis
  • Jennifer Saia
  • Carol Schaap
  • Irene Sepiol
  • Slaughter & Associates
  • Kelsee Stallinga
  • Tamminga family
  • Linda Todd
  • Friends of The Lansing Journal
  • Virginia Ulaszek
  • Leo Valencia
  • Phyllis Warsen
  • Waters Edge Aquascaping
  • Robert Wood
  • Patricia Yos
  • Chris Zdanowski

Anyone who reads local news is welcome to join this elite group. To add your contribution, visit thelansingjournal.com/support and make an online gift. Or mail an occasional check to The Lansing Journal, PO Box 742, Lansing IL 60438.

Stay informed about the community we’re building together. Sign up now for the free Daily News email: thelansingjournal.com/subscribe.

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. Thank you, Melanie, for your thoughtful and encouraging words. The Lansing Journal is a vital connection to what is happening in the village. We need to support each other now more than ever before. It’s my prayer that many will step up and join you in continuing this work.

  2. Way to go “Lansing” great town, great people,great paper . It takes a community to be a community. Let’s keep our momentum going.
    Gooo, LANSING !!!!

  3. Thank you, Melanie, for your kind and encouraging words, and to all of the writers, supporters & contributors who make this newspaper happen! Without The Lansing Journal, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with what’s going on here in our town on a variety of topics; from Covid-19 recently, to community events, elections, and much more. I love getting the daily email in my inbox each morning, especially since I’ve found social media to be too overwhelming these days. Let’s hope we can keep TLJ going for many years to come.

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