Vero Beach, FL (PRWEB) July 28, 2011
Vero Beach 32963, the three-year-old weekly newspaper of the Vero Beach, Florida barrier island, on July 28 became the second successful weekly in a month to ask its readers for voluntary donations to help support the cost of expansive local news coverage.
The Palo Alto Weekly in June asked readers to make voluntary contributions to support operating its print and online editions. Neither the Palo Alto Weekly nor Vero Beach 32963, the latter published since 2008 by former Washington Post editor and executive Milton R. Benjamin, charges for subscriptions.
Like the Palo Alto paper, Vero Beach 32963 has been entirely dependent on advertising revenue. Both weekly papers compete against dailies, and both report they are profitable.
Vero Beach 32963 in its three years of publication has made major inroads into the advertising of the E. W. Scripps daily, the Indian River Press Journal.
“We are not going to a paid subscription model,” said Vero Beach 32963 publisher Benjamin. “Advertisers love Vero Beach 32963 because it goes not to 30 percent or 40 percent of the homes but to 100 percent of the 11,000 homes on the Vero Beach barrier island – the third highest net worth zip code in Florida.
“But it just kills me to see Scripps cutting back on local reporting while its daily continues to milk millions each year in circulation revenue from subscribers,” said Benjamin. “If we had one tenth of that revenue from our readers, we would be hiring six more top reporters to provide local coverage missing from our community.”
Vero Beach 32963 currently has a full-time staff of 14 with its newsroom led by Joseph W. Fenton, previously metro editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
In an effort to tap into reader support, Vero Beach 32963 has launched a website, http://www.My32963.com, to give readers an opportunity to donate at four different levels, and is offering a variety of enticements to encourage voluntary donations.
Contribution levels suggested by Vero Beach 32963 start at $10 per month, or $120 per year, and go up to $200 per month or $2,400 per year.
“The latter may sound high, but we are blessed to be the newspaper of an amazingly affluent and literate community – a community where many residents get morning home delivery of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal – and we are asking those who can afford it to acknowledge the value and cost of quality journalism,” Benjamin said. “We believe Vero Beach 32963 residents share our view of the importance of a strong local media.
“Our message is similar to that of the local public broadcasting station. Donations to Vero Beach 32963 will make it possible to secure the future of strong local journalism in Vero Beach,” Benjamin added.