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Support for community events is important
One of the toughest calls we have to make at this newspaper is when someone requests that we run a press release for a fundraiser.
These fundraisers are always for a worthy cause - a family in need or a group that is trying to raise funds for a charity or a trip.
They are the kinds of events that are a key part of a community - a group of people working together for the betterment of a community or a group of people.
We often get requests to run a free notice for a benefit, supper, breakfast, tournament, raffle or some other fundraising event. It puts us in an awkward position. We truly support our neighbors and their causes, but we cannot give away to one group what another group pays for.
Several years before I got in the newspaper business, I was part of a group in another community that was organizing a fundraiser. We put in a request to the local newspaper to run a press release. The answer we got was that they do not run these press releases for free. Of course, we were upset. Our event was important to us and we could not understand why the local paper wouldn’t support us in our efforts.
Fast forward a couple years, and I was working in the business. It was my place to make the call on what is and isn’t going into the paper. One simple rule I was taught was “If you charge, we charge.” That meant that if people were being charged admission for an event, or were being asked to pay for the item, then we would require an ad to be run in the paper before we would put any mention of it in our news coverage.
It was explained to me that we as a newspaper were being asked to give away a product to one group that we were requiring others to pay for. Say a group is holding a breakfast. They are paying venue for the right to use the facility and hold their breakfast there, using their kitchen facilities, and they are buying pancake mix, eggs, sausage, syrup, paper plates, napkins etc. from a store to use during the breakfast.
My boss at another smalltown newspaper took a lot of grief for enforcing this policy, but he held firm to it, as we do here. At the same time, he also recognized, as we do, that it is important to support the groups in the community and cover these events, which we try to do as well.
We appreciate how important these events are to the community. For that reason, we offer discounted rates for ads for fundraisers and nonprofits.
Remember, we get charged the same price for printing and delivery of the newspaper, no matter what the content. We hope our readers will understand that.