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Please support Citizens’ Call by subscribing. Why? We make a difference, adding to your understanding and appreciation of the Greater Cheltenham community.

We don’t “play it safe” by striving not to offend, and we don’t offer “balance” where there is none. We work to provide our readers what they need to know when they need it. Our aim is to break down the facts on local affairs so you can decide – as citizens and taxpayers – on where you stand before issues are laid to rest or elections decided.

Usually we’re about basic reporting – assembling information that can be hard to come by and making it into an intelligible story. Sometimes, though, it’s about putting ourselves out there with a perspective that’s apt to raise some hackles. That’s OK. We see it as part of the process of give-and-take essential in our community, in any community, where democracy and differences are valued. (Not that anyone always lives up to that high standard).

But enough philosophy. We’re a local business, and like most any responsible business, we’re a part of a community to which we provide value and from which we need tangible returns to survive, evolve and grow. Only the fact that our product is information complicates things. In the wonderland of the World Wide Web, most information is free – and should be. And that’s a big part of the dilemma of contemporary journalism, particularly local news.

While news reporting is labor-intensive and expensive to produce, it is critical to democracy and community at every level. However, it’s a business that is tottering. With margins way down thanks to internet upstarts like Craig’s List, Wall Street and major corporations are abandoning the news sector like rats on a sinking ship. And local news outlets in smaller markets are inevitably the first victims. Once mighty media companies get cannibalized through bankruptcies and fire sales. If they survive at all, individual local news outlets are hollowed out to the point of practical dysfunction.

So where does this leave scrappy independents like Citizens’ Call, trying to survive on a shoestring? We look to our readers. Note that even giants like The New York Times are finding themselves largely dependent upon revenues from circulation, rather than advertising. Market realities mean we need readers like you to step up and buy subscriptions, but unlike The Times, you won’t find any paywall separating you from the news you need.

So here’s the bottom line. Paid or not, you’ll continue to be able to access our storehouse, unlike the local hardware store or your favorite eatery. It’s free, but we don’t have to tell you that while “free” is always enticing, there is a powerful downside. It chokes off the impetus for sustainable business development and community building that Citizens’ Call represents. If we’re going to expand coverage – and that’s the plan – we need the resources to make it happen.

It’s your call. If we provide sufficient value, we urge you to make the leap. (Purchase details are below.) Citizens’ Call represents an opportunity to invest in your community, in local responsible enterprise, merely by being a paying customer.

Of course, we invite you to look around. If you’re new to our work, welcome! We’ve just had a makeover, adding new functionality with a new look. We hope you’ll want to be a regular. Subscribe now. There’s no better way to stand up for independent community-based journalism.

Steve Strahs
Editor & Publisher

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