A chance to support your hyperlocal news site

What’s local news worth to you?

The business models of journalism have changed entirely in the last decade. Some nonprofit news sites are membership -driven, like PBS or NPR, or foundation funded but everyone seems to be trying something different as most people have become accustomed to getting their online news for free.

Many news sites, particularly hyperlocal sites, have turned to crowdfunding and/or membership models as a means of revenue and reader engagement. And so, now you too can support this hyperlocal news site with a contribution to the RahwayRising.com crowdfunding campaign. If you appreciate what’s presented on RahwayRising.com, then please consider a contribution.

This campaign aims to raise $500 as a floor of sort to cover recurring, annual costs of things like web hosting and state registration filing fees and other basic and miscellaneous expenses. I’ve always been open to trying something different with RahwayRising.com, which itself started out so many years ago as an experiment to see what one guy with a phone and a healthy obsession with transparency and municipal and zoning meetings could do. The crowdfunding campaign is just another in a long list of experiments.

Make no mistake: the site won’t be shutting down if $500 isn’t raised. The crowdfunding campaign is merely an opportunity for readers who’ve said they’d like to support this site. It’s often those loyal folks I’ve come across who tell me how important they find the information presented and how appreciative they are of the site. If you agree, then please feel free to contribute. And if not, that’s OK too. You can still keep reading (and thanks for doing so), you should too, because the site has provided a fair amount of news coverage that’s gone unnoticed elsewhere because of changes in the news business.

Technically, this site became a business when it was registered as an LLC a few years ago but really, it’s still more a hobby, spending a few nights a month at meetings and several more writing and/or researching posts. Contrary to what you might think, RahwayRising.com doesn’t pay the bills, which is why I still work full-time as a writer for a national trade magazine.

Arts Guild frontageRahwayRising.com is about the only legitimate news site that consistently covers Rahway, and I’d like to think it’s been fair, accurate and remarkably consistent over the almost nine (?!) years I’ve been doing this. For every easy pickin’ story like the mayor’s salary increase that draws attention of other media, there are numerous others that don’t get any attention but have just as much — if not more — impact on people’s lives. Nowhere else have you been able to read about recent news like:

There have been dozens of others through the years that are even more minute posts yet impactful neighborhood news like Zoning and Planning decisions.

I’ve also tried to provide some enterprise reporting that other sites wouldn’t bother with or just don’t drill down to the municipal level. Among my favorites over the years:

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.33.03 AMYou might be asking: “Why should I give you money if you have advertising?” A fair question no doubt. This is a one-man operation, not only on the editorial side but also the sales side. Certainly, I’m grateful to advertisers over the years for their support (#ShopLocal), like Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home, Pettit-Davis Funeral Home, Realtor Audra Loccisano, R. Service Maintenance, and in the past, Dr.’s Choice, Mr. B Printing, CDH Design, Striker Realty and Realtor Bob Markey. And if you’re a local merchant (#ShopLocal) interested in getting your business exposed to thousands of monthly page views (11,300+ in August), by all means, join that crowd and advertise here.

To be clear, contributions through IndieGoGo are not tax-deductible, and besides, this site is an LLC not a nonprofit. Also, IndieGoGo takes about a 5 percent cut.

Some excerpts in this John Oliver piece about the current state of news media struck me, particularly comments by David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and a former reporter at the Baltimore Sun: “The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter at a Baltimore zoning board meeting is the day I will be confident that we’ve actually reached some sort of equilibrium. There is no glory in that kind of reporting but that is the bedrock…”

No one seems to want to go municipal or zoning meetings and despite the lack of public discussion and debate, there still are decisions made that affect many people’s lives. In the case of Rahway specifically, decisions are made that will affect the landscape of the city for a generation or more.