A lot has changed in my three decades as a working journalist. The online revolution pitched old business models out the window, newsrooms enacted deep layoffs and corporate buyouts left media outlets in fewer hands. All that came at the expense of independent local coverage.
That said, I’ve never seen anything like the turmoil gripping local media right now. An unprecedented public health crisis is grinding our economy to a halt, forcing advertisers to make difficult spending choices and postponing events that help fund the San Antonio Current
After 34 years serving this community, our paper needs to rethink how it operates, and I’m asking you to be a partner in that journey.
No, the Current
isn’t about to close its doors. We’re still printing and distributing. More readers than ever access our online content. Even so, we’re facing the same tough realities as other news organizations affected by this crisis. As the coronavirus shut down the city, we were forced to temporarily lay off 10 hard-working members of our staff.
Once we weather the worst of this catastrophe, we’d love to rebuild our newsroom quickly and expand to tackle difficult stories with a new ferocity. But that’s going to be tough.
Ad dollars have been moving online for years now, only to be scooped by corporate giants such as Facebook and Google with no ties to our community. While The New York Times
and Washington Post
seem to be doing OK, local journalism is in crisis. You’ve seen the endless cavalcade of layoffs. You can feel how much the Express-News has shrunk when you pick it up in the morning.
In these difficult times, our city needs deeper, more insightful and harder-hitting news coverage, not less. There’s still much the Current
wants — no, make that needs
— to do. We’re still eager to hold local leaders accountable, introduce you to important community figures and shed light on homegrown arts and culture.
And we also want to make sure everyone, regardless of income, can access our work. The Current
has been a free publication since its inception, with nothing shielded behind paywalls, nothing reserved for subscribers only. Providing our content for free, both in print and online, may be a stubborn idea, but it’s one we refuse to give up on.
That’s why we have created the SA Current Press Club. If you value the Current’s voice, vitality and mission, we invite you to make a secure contribution, much in the way you do to your local PBS or NPR outlet. To take that step, visit us online at sacurrent.com/SupportLocalJournalism
We know our request comes as other organizations reach out to fund worthy missions during this time of crisis. But we also know others in San Antonio share our view that independent local journalism is key to building a better city. No doubt, many of you will view this as an investment in the community we love.
In exchange for your support, we’ll offer access to special events, cool custom swag, a membership card and other perks to let you proudly proclaim your membership in the family. Beyond that, you’ll know your contribution helped sustain, and perhaps expand, a staff of scrappy, no-nonsense journalists dedicated to bettering our city.
Working together, let’s keep the San Antonio Current
free, local and fiercely independent.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.