“…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Thomas Jefferson, 1787

We all used to love our newspapers. And many of us remember a time when the Courier Journal was a formidable winner of Pulitzers and international acclaim. Louisville was a fortunate city to have such fantastic local reporting. We remember when the Courier was an institution, a morning ritual, the glue that held us together. There were dozens of reporters focused on local issues that mattered. And of course, there was also sports, weather and the breaking news we all wanted.

Those days are gone. The newspaper industry, and the Courier along with it, is a mere shadow of its former self. In cities across the country, local media is crumbling under unsustainable business models created by the internet and its dominant duopoly of Facebook and Google.

Jefferson’s quote is more vital today than ever. But instead of newspapers, we have the internet. And Louisville is developing a new morning ritual—reading Insider Louisville.

The days of paying a hundred dollars a year for a subscription, with pages and pages of classifieds and display advertising are gone. And so is the business model for local news. Now, we are all on the internet.

And, the internet has challenges of its own. The business model depends on lots and lots (and lots) of clicks. So “news” is generated to create clicks. Privacy is a huge and very real concern. Companies sell your private information to marketers and politicians, and ads follow you wherever you go. All the while doing so without your permission.

But this does not mean local journalism in Louisville is going to die, it just needs to be reimagined and reinvented.

Last year, we decided that a nonprofit business model is the best path forward for Insider Louisville. Why? Because community support is the only way local news can survive in the 21st century.

We know that the click bait ad model does not serve our readers or our city when it comes to real news. And we therefore must go to you, the reader, for support. Already we are getting significant validation for our mission. We are grateful and honored to have received generous support from the James Graham Brown Foundation and several individuals, each of whom know how important our mission is to our city’s vitality.

But we need to hire more reporters writing more stories about things that matter. And we need your help if we are going to focus on local stories of importance, not stories that get the most clicks.

So, please consider supporting Louisville’s only digital local news source with a monthly commitment of just $10 (or more if you choose). When you do, you can be proud of the fact that you have contributed to growing the city’s largest digital-first newsroom.

Thanks for being a loyal Insider Louisville reader. We hope we can continue to be your local source of the newsworthy stories that impact our community and its future.

    Tom Cottingham, Insider Louisville’s CEO, has a long track record as a lead investor and founding partner in successful Louisville businesses, including TechRepublic.com and ITBusinessEdge.com. In addition to his duties here at Insider Louisville, Tom advises entrepreneurs and investors about the best ways to create and capitalize on opportunities here in Louisville.


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