By Kit Slack and Mark Goodson
Our newspapers, the College Park Here & Now and the Hyattsville Life & Times, reach every household in College Park and Hyattsville. It doesn’t matter who your friends are on social media, your internet speed or whether you remember your password: If you live in College Park or Hyattsville, the newspaper comes to your door. You can sit and read it without digital distraction.
Without a newspaper, a community lacks not only a source of information, but also a key source of unity and identity. Studies show that without a local newspaper, fewer citizens participate in the political process, and civic organizations struggle to recruit members. Local businesses have a harder time.
Across the nation, longtime for-profit newspapers, including those that served Prince George’s County, have shut down. Increasingly, communities lack reporters monitoring what local government is doing (or not doing), sharing how individuals and organizations are working to make things better, or promoting local music and arts.
Nonprofit news organizations like our parent company, Streetcar Suburbs Publishing, are working to fill the gap. The Hyattsville Life & Times — the Here & Now’s sister paper — has survived and thrived for almost two decades. The College Park Here & Now launched in the midst of a pandemic, as other papers were shutting down, and is also thriving. These papers operate with a unique model that relies on volunteers, advertisements from hyper-local businesses, and a contract to print and include a city-specific newsletter insert generated by the municipalities themselves.
Streetcar Suburbs Publishing is at a crossroads, though, and we need you. Our nonprofit is growing and this summer launched its third newspaper, The Laurel Independent. And as other local news sources have dried up, we are working to fill the void, stepping up to publish election guides for both city and countywide races. No other news outlet in the county provides this level of unbiased information to voters.
But as we work to bring you all the news that’s fit to print — and more — we face mounting challenges. Postage and printing costs have skyrocketed by as much as 40% recently, and advertising revenue has not kept pace. Our growing nonprofit needs administrative staff to support our many volunteers — the writers and photographers who generate most of our content every month.
This is where you come in: This fall we have an opportunity to raise up to $30,000 through NewsMatch, a collaborative fundraising movement that supports independent, public-service journalism like ours through their gift-matching program.
Through Dec. 31, NewsMatch will double each one-time gift of up to $1,000 we receive. They will also match every new monthly donation for a year — 12 times — to a total of $1,000 for each repeating gift we receive. Through NewsMatch, we can earn up to $30,000.
If you believe in the work we’re doing, please give today — and give NewsMatch the opportunity to double the impact of your donation.
News for people, not for profit. Support our community newsroom. Give now.
Kit Slack and Mark Goodson have been editors and board members at Streetcar Suburbs.