Here we are, week two of the Gabber, v.2, and I have to tell you, getting to the second week has been a hurdle.
The notorious El Cap and I have had many, many discussions about how much to share with everyone, because he is a private soul, and, well, I am not. Newspapers are also not reportedly forthcoming about their finances, investors, or bottom line. But I think we’re all at a stage in America where we need more forthright talk about how we make the news. And what better time to have that talk than after our paper went out of publication — almost for good.
Let’s talk for a few moments about how your favorite purveyor of local news is going to work, and our plan to stay solvent. Journalism across the country has struggled with how to make money off their websites, with no paper — from the New York Times to the Gabber — finding a satisfactory answer. Our plan to keep the Gabber going doesn’t include charging you to read our website.
It’s no secret that we needed help to come back to print. We — the former owners, myself, and the current staff — created an Indiegogo fundraiser to help defray that cost. What you may not realize is that the slightly more than $8,000 we raised carried us for about a week and a half. I’m not asking you to donate more, because our community has been overwhelmingly supportive; I say this so you know how swallow-your-teeth-expensive it is to run a newspaper.
Separate from the monies raised on Indiegogo — and my staff thanks you for their salaries, office space, desk chairs, and toilet paper, because that’s where that money went — El Cap and I bought the paper with a combination of loans from the community, a few donations specifically earmarked for the purchase, a bank loan, and our own savings (memo to friends: please expect a handmade holiday card this year.) Buying this paper took every penny we have, and that’s OK, because he comes from a broadcasting background and I come from print, and we both believe that journalism, on every level, matters. As for our investors? They’re people who walk among you every day, people you wouldn’t expect. None of them own a sports franchise or hold office anywhere, and none of them have asked for a thing in return except that we publish the Gabber every week.
Last week, I promised you we would do that. This week, I want to be clear on what you can expect from us. We will report on what matters to Gulfport and the South Pinellas community. We will do this every week in print and every day online. You can expect that the money you donated will not go to line anyone’s pockets; neither El Cap nor myself will take a salary from the paper for the foreseeable future. Our priorities, in this order are: publishing a paper every week, paying our staff, paying our rent, and paying all other bills. Period.
We’re committed to our community, we’re committed to the paper, and we’re committed to making sure the paper delivers the news the way you want to read it, whether it’s on your computer, on your tablet, or in print. Take a look at our masthead. Many of the people there donated some or all of their talents to get the paper back in publication; others agreed to wait for payment. Laura Mulrooney, Shelly Wilson, Joey Neill and other contributors agreed to work for us because they believe in the Gabber, and they worked their butts off to get the paper ready for a re-release. I’m honored to work alongside them every day.
We’ve created several ways you can support our team, from a digital subscription (our website, though, will remain free for everyone) to donations. The best way? Support our advertisers and tell them you saw their ad in the Gabber. And of course, buy an ad yourself.
Every penny helps.