At our last story meeting, I stood before my team of five reporters. I had a list of 24 story ideas that I needed my little team to cover and not enough people to do all of them.
I’ve written a number of columns in the last two years about our financial situation. We know that people want Eudora Times content. We see it in our numbers of people who read and like our content.
But the fact of the matter is that journalism is a business. And a business simply cannot make it without money.
This is why a meeting that I had Monday was so intriguing.
We hope to apply for a special program that would supply us with a substantial amount of grant money. In return, we would have a full-time Eudora Times staffer for a year.
This means regular coverage that the community deserves in addition to continued reporting by my team of students that would then provide Eudora with a real, full newspaper experience.
But we need your help.
Nothing is ever free, of course, so we have to put up some money ourselves to show this potential donor that we are serious and that Eudora does indeed want local news. Our target goal is to raise $15,000 so that we can secure about $24,000 in outside grant money.
This is a real, serious opportunity right here, right now to turn The Eudora Times into what it needs to be.
All donations to us go into a fund at KU Endowment, thereby making it a charitable donation. You can find our fund here: tinyurl.com/y4u7stxj
We have always been a donations-based news organization. We know many people read our content for free without donating. The trouble is that we cannot continue operating that way.
My students have to work part-time jobs to pay their rent and tuition. To date, we have never received enough donations at The Eudora Times for even one of them to be able to give up their part-time job to fully focus on covering Eudora.
Therefore, when I have story assignments, not only do I have limited people, but I have to work around all of their work schedules as well.
It’s why we are limited in what sports we’ve been able to cover. It’s why we’re limited in everything that we’ve been able to cover.
We’ve recently received some donations from KU alumni. However, one of the questions that they always want to know is: How much are Eudora residents contributing to their own newspaper?
The answer is about $10,000 over two years. That’s about $5,000 per year. (And it’s worth noting that $5,000 of the $10,000 came from one Eudora donor.)
With five reporters, that means the most they could make is $1,000 over 12 months, or $83 per month. Yes. $83 per month, which also needs to cover their gas and mileage going back and forth between Lawrence and Eudora.
We do this because this is important. It is important for a community to have a newspaper to capture its history, to raise awareness, to provide information.
It is not surprising at all that the decline of the newspaper industry has correlated with a decline in discourse in general in this country, when people are turning to false information on social media to fill information gaps due to the decreasing number of newspapers and journalists.
Penelope Abernathy’s news desert research has found more than 25 percent of the nation’s newspapers have vanished, resulting in 1,800 communities that had a news outlet in 2004 without one by 2020.
We think this is important. We’re doing our best with what we have. We need your help as well. Please donate to us to support our student journalists and keep The Eudora Times going.
Even if we wind up not getting the grant, the money can still be used to increase how much coverage we’re able to give the community and support our students.
Donate at: tinyurl.com/y4u7stxj
Teri Finneman is the founder and publisher of The Eudora Times.