Manchester Rising: Making a difference one story at a time

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MANCHESTER, NH – You may have noticed that we’re promoting a fundraising campaign for Manchester Ink Link. We’re calling it Manchester Rising, and it’s an opportunity for us to raise some money that will go toward reporting on issues that you, our readers, are interested in.

It’s not easy to ask for financial support. But I am prepared to make the case. Please read on.

Much has changed about journalism in the past decade. It’s an international phenomenon but there is evidence that local news is dying on the vine right here in New Hampshire. The number of employed journalists has tanked. According to Pew Research, newsroom employment nationally dropped by 57 percent between 2008 and 2020, from roughly 71,000 jobs to about 31,000. If you ask any managing editor from any newspaper here in New Hampshire if their newsrooms are understaffed, you’d hear similar statistics. The Nashua Telegraph has become an online-only publication except for Sundays. The New Hampshire Union Leader, where I got my start here, has a skeleton crew of reporters and relies on philanthropic charitable grants – like many other publications – to support their daily reporting.

Despite the bad rap that the “mainstream media” gets, we are not them. We are you. We live here. We care about our city and our state. We are in the trenches each and every day to bring you the news that truly matters.

But I don’t want to dwell on what has been lost. I want to celebrate the fact that Manchester Ink Link has risen from the ashes of dwindling local news resources to provide a robust platform that does all that it can to keep you informed about local news and information. We boast two full-time employees – yours truly and Andrew Sylvia, who is Assitant Editor since May of 2020. I was able to elevate him from a freelancer to a staff member during COVID-19 at a time when our website traffic tripled, thanks to a modest $7,500 PPP loan, which was forgiven because I hired him full time. It was a leap of faith for me to take on the responsibility of being an employer, but Andrew is worth every penny he earns. I don’t take a salary. I take what I need, but more often than not, I put back into the business everything that comes in because I believe I’m building something that matters.

We also elevate the voices of our community through regular contributors including Keith Spiro, Constance Cherise, Pat Grossmith, Ryan Lessard, Nate Graziano, Ryan O’Connor, Melanie Haney, Alec Biron, Jeffrey Hastings, Garry Rayno, Rob Azevedo, Chris Dugan, Bill Gilman, Winter Trabex, Rick Gordon, Dan Szczesny, Jeff Hastings, Peter Noonan, Stacy Harrison, Kathy Staub, and Anthony Payton. We also welcome community contributions through our Soapbox section, a lively platform where anyone can stand up and be heard.

Me with Phil Kincaide, Executive Director of the NH Press Association, handing me my 2021 NHPA Journalist of the Year Award.

This year we earned 10 New Hampshire Press Association awards, and I was named New Hampshire’s Journalist of the Year. That, for me, was affirmation that we have arrived as a viable resource for our community. I have so many big ideas for the future. I want to launch an “Inkubator” for student journalists so that we can provide jobs for students right out of high school, or prepare them for a future in journalism by jump-starting their academic careers. Yes, I’m dreaming big, but that is what it takes to make something happen.


How Manchester Rising Can Make a Big Difference

We have until December 31 to raise $100,000 for our Manchester Rising reporting campaign. It is a lofty goal, one I set deliberately, not just because it would be heaven to be able to support two full-time employees, but because it allows me the opportunity to inform you, dear readers, of the financial reality of operating a legitimate daily news site.

For $100,000 I can guarantee 100 stories in 2022 that are written by professional journalists about our city. We want to focus our coverage next year on the people, entities, and organizations who have been working hard in the trenches to elevate our city. There are so many untold stories – untold because there just aren’t enough tangible resources to pay reporters for the time it takes to develop them. Since launching our Manchester Rising fundraising campaign we’ve raised $8,660 as of this moment. That represents 86 stories I can pay reporters to write. Considering we publish 8-10 daily stories on average, that equates to about 8 weeks’ worth of stories.

Whether you contribute money or not, please take a minute to fill out this form and tell us what kind of stories you’d like us to focus on in 2022.

Operating costs for us includes annual web-hosting, a website developer, upgrading plug-ins and security measures, an advertising platform that allows us to create ad campaigns with geo-targeted analytics, a daily newsletter that includes nearly 5,000 subscribers, our VIP membership program, an interactive community calendar, developing new verticals, including our soon-to-be-launched business section, our Voters Guide and several other initiatives that are in the works.

We also pay contributors and freelancers for their work because we wholeheartedly believe in the value of good reporting.

If we don’t raise another dime, that $8,660 is still a wonderful boost to our ability to bring you stories that are relevant and enlightening.

Of course, we want to do more, always.

We want to inspire you to get involved. We believe a news site that provides access without a paywall supports democracy and civic engagement for all. We want to move the needle when it comes to the persistent issues that most of our readers respond to, stories about affordable housing, education, infrastructure, small businesses and supporting our youth, the next generation who will be running things in another decade or so.

To be completely honest, it is hard to ask for support.

I have for the past 7.5 years done everything I can think of to keep this news site afloat. I’ve invested my own money, I’ve worked with local businesses interested in advertising, and I’ve partnered with an elite group of businesses who have become Community Partners, giving them the benefit of our outstanding SEO ranking and engagement to promote their enterprises. We welcome advertisers and partners as we move forward, and we do all that we can to help get your message out to our 200K+ unique monthly readers.

But if we are going to be able to sustain our news site and expand our coverage, we need your help. Every single dollar you contribute between now and December 31 will do just that.

In the next two weeks, I will continue to remind you of stories we’ve produced that have made a difference. I hope that you will consider supporting us with a contribution in any amount to help us keep the Ink Link going. Simply go to givebutter.com/inkubator right now and, before you make a contribution, please read through the comments of those who’ve already given. Then, decide what it means to you to have an option like the Ink Link as your go-to resource.

I’ve been blown away by the fact that so many people in our community have found something that matters here. If you have ever benefitted from our coverage of City Hall, our events calendar, our human interest stories, our business coverage, our focus on high school sports and academic achievers – then make a tax-deductible contribution.

I have had a wonderful career in journalism. It has been my dream come true. My story is not necessarily unique, but I am proud of the fact that I went from being a teen mom to NH Journalist of the Year simply by following my heart. I am all in with Manchester, and I am humbly asking for you to come with me.

I created a short video below that will give you a condensed version of my “why.” Please take two minutes to watch and, if that doesn’t move you, then please reach out to me at publisher@manchesterinklink.com and tell me why you don’t want to help keep the Ink Link going, and I will do my best to convince you that it’s the perfect investment in your future – our future.

Because together, we rise.


 

About this Author

carol-robidoux

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!