Thinking about membership

25
birthday gifts

July support gives us room to explore new ideas

by Melanie Jongsma, Managing Editor

LANSING, Ill. (August 2, 2020) – It’s always been important to us to offer The Lansing Journal as a free source of local information. We want everyone in our community to have access to community news.

During these times of isolation, economic hardship, and questions about justice, equal access to reliable information has been even more important.

So far, equal access has been possible because of community members who make financial contributions and community organizations who purchase advertising. They understand that a free newspaper still costs money to produce.

Victoria Gay reads the Journal at the Clock Tower. (Photo: Kyle Bergfors, 2017)
We publish the names of our supporters each month because we want to publicly express our gratitude, and because we want our non-paying readers and subscribers to remember that the gift of this newspaper is possible because of the gifts that real people send in each month. We hope you scan the list of names below and see a few that you recognize. To be honest, we also hope you’ll choose to be listed among them—you can become a supporter here.

Not like other newspapers

I started thinking about membership while I was researching other online payment methods that might be an improvement over PayPal. As some of you supporters know, PayPal doesn’t give you a way to manage your own transactions. You discovered this when the credit card to which you were charging your monthly gift expired, and PayPal sent you a notice saying your payment couldn’t be processed. There was no way for you to simply update your payment information and go on giving. The only way for you to continue supporting The Lansing Journal was to start over again with a new payment profile. Frustrating.

There are other trustworthy payment processors available, and some of them are designed specifically for news publishers. I spent a lot of time researching options, and I think The Lansing Journal will be using a combination of Pico and Stripe, both well respected vendors in the online publishing industry.

Gerardo Vidaure picks up the Journal at Three Roosters (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, 2017)
Getting things set up required a lot of conversations, partly because these companies are not used to dealing with a publication that gives away its content for free. They deal with membership sites, where readers pay for a subscription and then gain access to content. And they know how to set up levels of membership so the more you pay, the more articles you can read.

When I wanted to simply set up some optional membership levels, they were confused by the question.

What does membership mean?

Having those conversations led me to think about membership. What does it mean to be a member of The Lansing Journal community? If everyone has equal access to the articles we publish, what are the extra benefits we offer members?

Subscribing Members
The most basic level of membership is simply becoming a subscriber, signing up for our free Daily News email. Taking this step means you’ve opted in to The Lansing Journal community and invited us into your inbox each morning. The benefits to this level of membership include these:

  • You receive everything we publish. (You don’t have to read it all, but you’ll at least be notified that it’s there.)
  • You almost always receive it first. Our Daily News email will arrive in your email inbox at 5:00am each day, and you can click and scan it whenever you’re ready.
  • Some of the pop-ups go away. By opting in as a subscriber, you’ll be opting out of the pop-ups that ask you to become a subscriber. (This wasn’t true before, but by switching to Pico we can make sure these pop-ups know who is a subscriber and who isn’t.)

To become a Subscribing Member, just click this button and input your email address:

Supporting Members
Supporting Members are people who give us money. Typically, these people don’t give because they want something in return. They give because they appreciate what they are already getting—exclusive news that larger media don’t provide, including local features about our own businesses, schools, churches, and neighborhoods. So the extra benefits they get for this level of membership are all intangibles:

  • The pride of knowing they are essential—without their support, this community doesn’t have a newspaper
  • The joy of generosity—the gifts of a few hundred members make it possible for tens of thousands of visitors to access reliable news and information
  • A sense of fair value—some simply want to pay for the articles they receive each morning, in exchange for the service we provide

We also want to provide Supporting Members with another benefit—removing pop-ups that ask for money. We are still working with Pico to set that up correctly.

Advertising Members
I consider our advertisers to be members of The Lansing Journal community as well. Many of them have been impacted by COVID-19 and other uncertainties, but they choose to advertise with us because (1) they know our readers are a community they want to reach, and (2) they prefer to send their advertising dollars to a locally invested paper rather than a larger media outlet. In gratitude for their support, The Lansing Journal offers these benefits to Advertising Members:

  • We consult with them about their message, so we can make effective advertising recommendations.
  • We offer ad design services at no extra charge.
  • We encourage readers to notice the ads on our pages and shop local.
  • We track the results of their ads and send them reports each week.

We become partners with our Advertising Members because we want them to succeed—because that’s good for them, for us, and for the community we share.

Thank you, Supporting Members

Please take a look at the list of names below. These Supporting Members deserve our thanks for providing the financial support this newspaper needs:

Supporting Members who gave during July—

  • Lindsey and Saad Abbasy
  • Karen Adams
  • Judith Beezhold
  • Barry Bergstrom
  • Marlene Biesboer
  • Susan Bovino
  • John Bush
  • Maryann Centracchio
  • Laurel Clausing
  • Greg and Jane Compeau
  • Marlene Cook
  • Diane Costello
  • Denise Cox
  • Kerry Czarobski
  • Lauragene Davia
  • Christopher Deckinga
  • Debbie DeNardo
  • Sandy DeVries
  • Barb Dust
  • Rich Dust
  • Roseann Dykstra
  • Frank Fetters
  • Marilyn Freeman
  • Tina Funchion
  • Rebecca Furlong
  • Jacob Gourley
  • Patty Grigutis
  • Lawrence Grzywinski
  • Joyce Haak
  • Ted Hnatusko
  • Marjorie Holme
  • Mark Hornung
  • Jim Janssen
  • Melanie Jongsma
  • Frank Knettle
  • Pat Kremer
  • Pamela Lancy
  • Jim and Suzanne Long
  • Kathleen Maanum
  • Roberto Mendoza
  • Christine Merchat
  • Joyce Mulder
  • Nauta Enterprises
  • Mary Beth Palka
  • Thomas Panichi
  • Vivian Payne
  • Moira Peterson
  • Richard Podgorski
  • Rosemarie Polgar
  • Jay and Chris Popp
  • Joanne Pritchard
  • Jean Qualls
  • Penelope Rellis
  • Jane Roseen
  • Jennifer Saia
  • Dolores Samples
  • Carol Schaap
  • Dave Schurman
  • Peter Schurman
  • Irene Sepiol
  • Tanja Simic
  • Slaughter & Associates
  • Michelle Smith
  • Kelsee Stallinga
  • Linda Todd
  • Friends of The Lansing Journal
  • Virginia Ulaszek
  • Leo Valencia
  • Phyllis Warsen
  • Waters Edge Aquascaping
  • Robert Wood
  • Patricia Yos
  • Chris Zdanowski

Final thoughts about membership

The best people to tell you what membership means are our Subscribing Members and Supporting Members themselves. Here’s a sampling:








These cards, notes, emails, and gifts affirm that we are doing important, valued work in our community, and that membership has its benefits.

To join The Lansing Journal community at whatever membership level you prefer, use the links below:

Thank you!