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Letter from the Publisher

Dear Reader and Friend of The Bridge:
Once a year, I write a letter to our readers and friends and ask for financial help to keep The Bridge alive, kicking and publishing.
The Bridge is free, independent and local. Twice a month we publish a paper that brings you news, opinion and analysis, and we’re often told that we’re putting out a calendar of events that’s easy to read, useful and comprehensive.
For the past 10 years or so, we’ve asked our readers and friends to plug a gap between the money we generate from advertising sales and subscriptions, and the money it costs to write, edit, design, print, distribute and mail the paper.
Here is our situation.
This year, while our income from ad sales has been either flat or off a bit, our costs have risen. It’s costing us more to print and mail the paper. It’s costing us more to pay our writers, our editors and the people who design and distribute the paper.
I don’t regret paying our employees a little more this year than last. We want to get closer to paying our employees a living. That we could not do this, this year, has hurt us. We found we were losing good, effective, spirited employees who wanted to stay at The Bridge but couldn’t afford to work here anymore and had to leave for higher-paying jobs.
This past summer I asked a long-time friend with a good business head and a talent for numbers to take a look at our financial statements. After plowing through the numbers for several weeks, he came to me and said, “Nat, you can’t keep giving away the paper for free anymore.”
The Bridge has been a free paper for all of its 21 years. We have wanted to put out a paper that is available to anyone in the community regardless of his or her lot in life. This was a founding conviction at The Bridge. Even as my friend was telling me we couldn’t afford to put out a free paper anymore, I was resisting.
Then we ran some numbers.
We started with Montpelier because that’s where The Bridge started and has its office, and we’ve always had a strong Montpelier focus. And we imagined, “What if 10 percent of the roughly 5600 households we mail to in zip code 05602 subscribed to the paper? And what if they subscribed to the paper at a special introductory price of $40 a year?” If those 560 households subscribed, that would generate $22,400, about what we need to fill our current gap.
There—that’s the plan this year.
Please subscribe to The Bridge for $40 a year. Anyone who presently has a subscription at $50 a year is welcome to tack on an additional year for $40 during our current fall-winter subscription campaign period.
A number of people have typically given $100, $200, $500 gifts to the paper. We encourage such gifts as well but this year’s goal is 560 new subscriptions.
Please find an addressed, return envelope within this issue of The Bridge. If that envelope is missing, we hope you will still send a check made payable to The Bridge to this address: P.O. Box 1143, Montpelier, VT 05601.
Thanks in advance for your timely and generous support. This means a lot to all of us here.
Nat Frothingham, Publisher