I need to be honest with you about Raleigh Convergence’s future.
I want to be transparent about where we are now and what role you, the community member reading this, play going forward.
You probably know that the news industry is struggling.
In Wake County, we’ve lost eight weekly hyperlocal news weeklies since 2004, according to UNC’s news deserts research.
Newsrooms in the U.S. employ 51% fewer people in 2019 than 2008 — and the pandemic’s economic impact accelerated more layoffs and buyouts. Trust in news is lower, while misinformation is higher.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Raleigh Convergence fills a unique role in our local information ecosystem. It’s local news delivered briefly on the platforms you use today, a catalyst for taking local action and a local storytelling conduit.
Our individual membership program connects neighbors to the information equity-driven future of Raleigh Convergence. Those who can pay, should, to keep our digital publications free for those who can’t.
But it relies on you — fewer than 2% of newsletter subscribers currently pay to support Raleigh Convergence. Without the support of at least 10% of subscribers, it’s at risk of folding.
We need business support, too. That’s why annual corporate membership launch pricing will be extended to the end of the month — we hope to get to a goal of 10 businesses to sign up for our corporate memberships.
There are real costs to run a business. Raleigh Convergence is not a venture-backed business. It’s not owned by a hedge fund or a millionaire. It’s owned by me, here. While the majority of media businesses find economies of scale, being a local business owner means reinvesting in our people and our businesses.
I pay local people a fair market price for their work, and I seek out talented people who reflect our community’s identities.
When Raleigh Convergence received a grant from Facebook for a newcomer project, besides some software costs, that money stayed here. I chose to make scavenger hunt and trivia prizes gift certificates to local businesses.
When you support Raleigh Convergence, you’re supporting a local business that supports local businesses.
It comes down to this — to build a local news org that can last, it requires money.
In 2021 alone, I’ve paid $2,600+ in media insurance, $1,000 for legal services, $720+ for software and operating supplies. These basic costs are not yet covered by memberships or other diverse revenue streams such as events and content strategy courses.
I believe that we can create the future for local news here, together. That’s why I believe in relational membership — not transactional subscriptions or advertising platforms that prioritize your eyeballs over your brain.
Our vision is to create a new collaborative local journalism practice that converges around a concise shared set of facts, diverse perspectives and thoughtful experiences. Time invested in our content or events will be time well spent.
With your continued support, that vision will grow to what it can be and what Raleigh deserves.
When you support Raleigh Convergence with a corporate or individual membership, you’re supporting a thriving community. You’re supporting local business. You’re supporting access to local news.
Most of all, you’re saying that the future can be built here, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen
Editor, Publisher + Founder