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My phone call with Mildred

A Giving Newsday story

by Melanie Jongsma, Publisher

LANSING, Ill. (November 30, 2021) – I didn’t recognize the phone number, but it had a 708 area code, so I answered anyway: “Good afternoon! This is Melanie.” The voice on the other end was raspy but warm, a woman of 70 or 80 years I guessed. I don’t want to use her real name, so let’s call her Mildred (my grandmother’s name).

Mildred asked if this was the number for The Lansing Journal, and I confirmed that it was. “I haven’t been receiving the paper,” she explained. “I used to get it all the time, but now it’s been a few months, and I don’t get it anymore. How can I get back on the list?”

Like all Lansing residents, Mildred had been receiving the print version of The Lansing Journal for free on the first Wednesday of every month. I had to explain that the pandemic had forced us to take a break from printing the news. We were now focused on delivering news via email for the time being.

Giving Newsday

The costs

“I’ll help pay for it,” she offered. “I miss getting it — I like to know what’s going on in town!” Mildred clearly recognized the value of what she was getting, and she understood there are costs involved.

We chatted a little longer, and I helped her sign up for the email. Even though she prefers her news to be delivered on pages rather than pixels, she agreed that email news is better than no news at all. We laughed and joked with each other, and I assured her that next time we published a print edition I would personally deliver it if necessary!

A few days later, in a recycled envelope addressed to The Lansing Journal, I found a crumpled-up smoothed-out $5 bill. It was from Mildred.

Giving Newsday

The investment

This $5 investment in our community newspaper is especially meaningful to me considering that Mildred’s resources are most likely limited. She appreciates having a hometown paper, and she wants to do her part.

People like Mildred are an example of why we provide The Lansing Journal for free. I don’t want to charge Mildred a subscription price of $60/month (which is what some papers charge) to stay informed and connected with her community.

Giving Newsday

November 30 is Giving Tuesday this year. Here at The Lansing Journal we like to call it Giving Newsday. Will you, like Mildred, give to The Lansing Journal so we can keep giving news to everyone in our community?

And if you have the means, would you consider signing up as a monthly supporter? Monthly gifts provide a dependable base of income that helps us plan which stories we can afford to send a reporter to cover. Maybe you’d like to give $5/month, as a nod to Mildred. Click the button and make your choices:

We run a lean business, and every dollar you give goes directly into the journalism. (See the infographic below.) Your gifts pay our reporters. Your gifts keep our website live. Your gifts send that email each morning filled with new articles about what’s happening in town.

Giving Newsday

The importance

I never want to put Lansing news behind a paywall. I never want to tell Mildred there is no newspaper for her. She lives alone. She doesn’t drive. The Lansing Journal is her window to the community around her.

So when you give to The Lansing Journal, you are doing much more than paying for web hosting and email delivery. With every donation, you are making connection possible. You are building community.

As part of Giving Newsday (or Giving Tuesday), will you give to The Lansing Journal so we can keep giving news to our community?

Consider one of these options:

  1. If you’re already giving monthly, maybe you could increase your monthly gift by a few dollars.
  2. If you already give occasionally, maybe you’re ready now to sign up as a monthly giver. Consider giving just $5/month, as a tribute to Mildred.
  3. If you’ve never given before, but you enjoy receiving local news, maybe you’d be willing to give one of the amounts in the graphic above, either monthly or as a one-time gift.

Here’s a button you can click to make your Giving Newsday choices:

Thank you for your Giving Newsday support — it’s so important! Your Giving Newsday gifts are what empower us to keep giving news every day. Take a look at the graphic again to see exactly what your gifts accomplish:

Giving Newsday

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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