Next steps for local journalism

As promised last week, here is more on the way this newspaper will continue to find ways to maintain a viable business model for local journalism. As noted, this is the first week The Lakeville Journal Company is instituting a price increase for single copy sales at dealers, as well as for print and online subscriptions. During the COVID-19 pandemic changes, in a cost-saving measure, we took the opportunity to shutter our Millerton News office, now operating both The Lakeville Journal and Millerton News from our Falls Village office, and remotely. The world has changed since March, and in order to stay up and running, every business, large or small, has to change as well.

Another way we have targeted to save money is by changing printers this week, from our longtime partners at Trumbull Printing in Trumbull, Conn., to The Berkshire Eagle, New England Newspapers, in Pittsfield, Mass. Sometimes change needs to happen in order to minimize costs and maximize efficiency, and that is what we hope will come of this move. It is also a way we can support the local, independent journalism that is happening now at the Eagle and their other New England Newspapers.

One of the things that makes The Lakeville Journal Company unique is not just that it’s a provider of local journalism, but also that it’s independently owned. Most of the local media in our region was bought by large corporate owners over the past decades, and it was not easy for this little media company to retain its individuality. It is owned by a board who cares deeply about keeping local journalism alive, and independent. In fact, if you look through the newspaper this week, you will find them listed in the statement of ownership required by the U.S. Postal Service to be run for the public to see every October. Only gratitude to our owners on behalf of those who work at the company and our readers. If it weren’t for their dedication to this cause, it’s very likely this local media would either no longer be around, or would be owned by a large corporate entity and look very different than it does now.

Our commitment is to provide the best coverage we can for our communities during this time of massive change. Last year at this time, we did a survey of our readers and established a for-profit membership model that was very successful, from our point of view. This year, as we analyze the way to survive through 2021 and beyond, we will maintain that basic model, calling it a contributors’ model, while still having people on our board and advisory board looking into options for a possible nonprofit arm of the company. Please take note of an inserted letter and return envelope in the newspapers Oct. 22, which is from our ownership on planning and needs as we continue through our 124th year in business.

And thank you for your support of local journalism. It is readers like you who have kept us going for 124 years.

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