The Bridge was notified earlier this month that our application for federal 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status has been approved. We were already a nonprofit with the state of Vermont, but having that federal nonprofit status allows us to save money on postage, one of our biggest expenses other than staff. We are also newly eligible for grants that we didn’t previously qualify for thanks to our new status.
Along with the nonprofit status comes our new name: Capital Region Community Media, doing business as The Bridge Newspaper.
In a world where local journalism is an endangered species, those news organizations left standing have to think creatively. The Bridge has relied on our sister nonprofit organization, the Friends of the Bridge, to fundraise for us, along with our print and digital advertisers, and the many donations from our community of people who understand the vital role of local news.
Advertising revenue for U.S. newspapers dropped 25% from 2019 to 2020, when the most current data is available, according to the Pew Research Center. We don’t have the numbers for what happened to advertising in 2021 and 2022, when the combined two-year inflation rate came to 13.5%. We do know that, according to The New York Times, 360 newspapers closed between 2020 and 2022.
“Overall, 2,500 newspapers in the United States — a quarter of them — have closed since 2005,” writes author Isabella Simonetti. “The country is set up to lose one-third of its newspapers by 2025. And in many places, the surviving local media outlets have made major cuts to staff and circulation.”
The Bridge is proud to join the likes of VTDigger and Vermont Public, alongside the growing ranks of independent, nonprofit news organizations. We exist entirely thanks to our advertisers, the generosity of this community, the hard work of The Friends of The Bridge, and dozens of contributors to the paper, both paid and unpaid.
Look to these pages for regular updates on the status of nonprofit local news, and if you value our coverage of the big issues such as homelessness and housing, city news, schools, the arts, events, your neighbors and local businesses, please patronize our advertisers and consider a donation: montpelierbridge.org/donate
Next issue: local journalism’s role in nonprofit news.
Cassandra Hemenway is The Bridge’s Editor-in-Chief.
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