Happy Holidays Longmont Observer Readers,
Christmas Day for me has always been a day of being with my family. As I have grown older, I have learned just what a labor of love preparing for Christmas was for the women in my family.
Growing up in the mid-west, meant that the women ran the men and children out of the kitchen so they had room to make a feast large enough to feed several football teams. When I was very young, I was always allowed to help with one small task and then shooed off to play. As I got older, I was invited into the kitchen until I knew the stuffing recipe by heart, which is a big deal because I don’t think anyone ever wrote it down.
The point of having a kitchen full of women doing all the cooking was not to exclude anyone, it was because the women in my family show their love through their cooking. The better the reaction from the meal, the more it filled their hearts.
Although each dish was made with love and laughter, not one of those women would have argued with you that making such a meal was not a bi-annual (including the Thanksgiving meal) labor of love.
Yesterday, Shakeel’s opinion column Standing for Something included the line, “we cannot afford to let one of this city’s strongest community-building assets be an unpaid labor of love for our editor-in-chief.”
When I read this the first time, while editing the piece, it took me back for a second. I can’t say that I had ever truly considered what I do at the Observer as a labor of love. When I began, it was because I wanted a place to gain experience editing. I never thought for a moment that I would fall in love with producing the news. But truly, that is exactly what happened.
I began with a story of my family, one that is always on my mind this time of year, because that is what always comes to mind when someone says the words “labor of love.” But Shakeel is right. What I do for the Observer is an absolute labor of love.
I don’t get paid to bring Longmont’s news to you and I haven’t in the 1.5 years I have been doing it. And yet, every day I look forward to connecting with the people of Longmont. I get excited hearing and sharing your stories. I work late into the night trying feverishly to catch up on writing your stories.
These are not things I thought I would ever enjoy and yet, it is nearly 10 p.m. and I can’t help myself. I love this job. It has been a dream come true, a dream I didn’t know I had until I met Scott and Sergio, until I met many of you. Longmont truly inspires me which makes it easy for me to look forward to another day or work, even if I don’t get paid to do it.
While I absolutely agree with Shakeel that this is indeed a labor of love for me; I disagree that the focus should be on me. Every person who does or has volunteered at the Longmont Observer has done so as a labor of love. They strive to balance full-time jobs with writing articles and covering events.
They do it, we do it, because we all feel strongly that Longmont needs a community newspaper. That the voices of Longmont are desperate to be heard and have been waiting for an outlet to spread their words. The Longmont Observer is that outlet.
We feel as though it is, not only our duty but also our honor to help the residents know and understand what is happening with their schools and government. That each resident deserves to know that those entities are working toward a greater community and not wasting taxpayer money. Longmont deserves a place to turn to in order to learn how their community is put together and to help them understand how we belong.
Unfortunately, the demands of life catch up to us all. At some point, no matter the passion and enthusiasm of our volunteers, even the Longmont Observer will have to end.
Just days after receiving the keys to the Longmont Observer’s new office, Scott, Sergio and I had a meeting. We each committed our time, for one more year, to the Longmont Observer. When our lease is up in November 2019, we may have to close the paper down. That is not our plan though. None of us want that. We dread the day that may happen and it brings tears to my eyes even talking about it.
At that same meeting, we each committed to giving everything we have and exploring every option to keeping the Observer going. We decided that we need a yearly budget of $500,000 to produce Longmont’s news. And that is the monetary goal we are driven to achieve. Without it, we simply can’t keep expecting our staff to keep balancing so much.
I know that number sounds hard to achieve but let’s look at what it would take. There are roughly 100,000 residents in Longmont. The Longmont Observer reached 107,516 unique readers in 2018, those numbers do not include December’s readers. We ask Longmont Observer members to donate $5 a month or $60 a year. If 10,000 people contributed only $5 a month to the Observer for one year, we would receive $600,000. That is only 10% of the unique readers who read our news from Jan. to Nov. 2018. That is only 10% of Longmont.
Additionally, we have two options for business memberships. The cheapest is $330 a year, if you pay the entire year at once. If 1,515 Longmont businesses participated in this membership, we would reach our $500,000 goal.
As a resident, think about how much you pay for a Times-Call subscription. As a business, what you pay to advertise in the Times-Call, we called and were denied those numbers? How do their numbers compare to ours? Whose publication are you happier with? Which publication openly invites you to participate in creating news for our community?
Those are a lot of things to consider. But the one thing I would like for you to consider above all others is this: If there is a group of people out there devoting their time to help our community come together, to inform our community on important topics and who invites that community to participate in creating that news, then don’t they deserve our support?
Thank you for reading our news. Thank you for liking our news. Please consider supporting our news. We would like to stay. We would like to continue to grow. We would like to continue to get better. We want to give you more. We just need your help.