Thursday, September 28, 2023

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Independence you can depend on

by Melanie Jongsma, Publisher

LANSING, Ill. (June 30, 2021) – The Lansing Journal is an independent news source. What does that mean?

It means that local government, advertisers, and donors do not have any more influence on our editorial decisions than average readers do. You all have equal access to the information we publish, and equal opportunity to share new story ideas. No matter where a story idea comes from, The Lansing Journal’s reporting will be fair, balanced, and accurate.

Independence and dependence

At the same time, The Lansing Journal is also a very dependent news source. We are dependent on the support of our community in order to continue providing independent news. The checks you mail in, the credit card gifts you make, and the ad space you purchase on our website — that all funds the independent journalism we do. And we are grateful for supporters who understand that no matter what size donation they make or what size ad they purchase, they are not buying special treatment.

Remarkable and rare

Not everyone understands how remarkable it is for a small town to have its own newspaper. Our nation of 255 million adults is served by only 7,112 newspapers — and only 1,283 of those are dailies. (Source: The Expanding News Desert, Penelope Muse Abernathy). So for our town of 28,000 to be home to an independent newspaper that publishes original articles by local reporters every day — that’s something to be proud of.

I’m grateful for people who do not take this for granted, especially because I know how rare that kind of support is. “When asked if they had paid or given money in the past year to any local news source,” Pew Research Center reported in 2019, “84% of Americans said no.” This might be because 71% of people believe that their local newspaper is doing well financially. They fail to make the connection between their support and their newspaper’s health, and so they are taken by surprise when newsrooms shutter, and reporters take jobs with marketing firms, and independent community coverage disappears.

There is a group of about 400 supporters and 100 advertisers who prevent that from happening to The Lansing Journal.

These people get it. And we are grateful.

Independence and importance

This Independence Day we want to celebrate the freedom we have to report local news. Property taxes, school board decisions, church events, business openings, government activities — it’s all important news. And it’s important that we continue reporting it independently.

I never want to take this freedom for granted. And I hope you won’t either. If you depend on The Lansing Journal for daily, accurate, balanced information about your community, could we depend on you to help keep this independent newspaper going?

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P.S. Supporting an independent news source like The Lansing Journal means you don’t have to rely on Facebook for information. You don’t have to wait for a Times reporter to attend a board meeting. You don’t have to hope that Chicago media will cover your event. You have a local newspaper that shows up over and over, getting the facts, publishing the information, and delivering it freely every day. It’s a remarkable benefit that not many communities can say they have. Let’s make sure we don’t lose it.

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.


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