This Labor of Love Needs a Hand

Fall of 2018 will mark aNewsCafe.com’s 11th year. I may have mentioned that 11 is one of my favorite numbers. And I trust that this will be my favorite year on aNewsCafe.com, because we are working on bringing you some new features and sections that we’re pretty excited about, which we hope to introduce this spring.

As we look to our editorial future we also consider the future of the enterprise as a whole, aNewsCafe.com as a business, with staff, volunteers, advertisers and sponsors.

The good — no, great — news is that our readership continues to grow, so much so that we broke records this summer with 94,000 unique monthly visitors. We’re proud of that number, even prouder when you consider that each unique visitor represents one IP address, which can host multiple individual computers. That’s a lotta eyeballs peeking into our little corner of paradise.

I hope it’s been your experience that aNewsCafe.com is evolving and has consistently aimed for ever greater heights and breadth, thanks to an array of uniquely talented writers and contributors who provide everything from stunning photography and accurate weather coverage, to insightful movie reviews, enlightened and informative opinion pieces, and fact-based news stories. That certainly has been our goal.

On the other hand, we struggle to maintain sufficient revenue to adequately compensate our professional contributors, yet alone attract new talent for things like a dedicated news reporter, sports coverage, cooking videos, podcasts, and obituaries, as well as the return of Femme de Joie, Redding’s only authentic restaurant reviewer.

Related to this conversation, one upcoming change that those of you who are subscribers will soon notice is we will implement a fee of $5 a month for the subscription service that emails publication notifications to your inbox, something we’ve offered for 10 years at no charge. Those readers who are already making recurring monthly donations to the site (thank you!) will automatically have the option to receive those email notifications at no additional cost.

It’s cold comfort to know that our struggle is a common one among larger and more established media outlets, for whom traditional advertising models no longer work. But the question remains, What to do?

The most obvious, and perhaps easiest fix would be one that many online sites have  implemented: a paywall. But our team’s consensus was this: We all hate paywalls.

So if not a paywall, then what?

On this Valentine’s Day I come to you with an open heart to share the best of what’s happening on aNewsCafe.com, and to ask for your support to assure its continuation, specifically in the form of recurring donations. What I am asking for is a commitment.

If you are one of the select group of friends and readers who currently donate, thank you. If you are not, I ask that you lend your financial support. Just as aNewsCafe.com could not have grown into the vibrant and diverse online community we are without readers like you, we cannot thrive without everyone pitching in.

Love always,

p.s. A few of you have said you’re uncomfortable using PayPal. We hear you and understand.

You have options. First, you can mail donations to aNewsCafe.com, in care of Doni Chamberlain, P.O. Box 990644, Redding, CA 96099.

Second, if you want to make an electronic donation, click on our “donate” button you’ll see a link to a page that looks like this, and it does have the word “PayPal” in the upper left corner (which I’ve cropped to avoid too much white space). But you’ll see at the bottom of the link two options: PayPal and credit card, so you can choose. Let Joe know if it doesn’t work. We want this to go as smoothly as possible for you.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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