We Need Your Help. LAist Has A Budget Gap And We're Turning To You For Support
LAist is made for you and with you — that means your questions and concerns drive our news coverage.
But, as a nonprofit independent newsroom, this only works when people who are able to donate to support this work stand up and give. The reality is only a tiny fraction of our readers currently contribute to fund this valuable service that everyone can read without ever being locked out by a subscription paywall.
As LAist's executive editor, I'm proud of the work we're doing and the ways we're changing how we approach journalism. That's why I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to make the case for donating today to help us close a growing budget gap.
Unlike most newsrooms, your needs and concerns are central to how we assign and report stories. Here are just a few examples of how that works in practice:
We just conducted a survey asking you to list the most urgent issues you think L.A. Mayor Karen Bass should tackle:
- We heard from thousands of Angelenos. Those answers are currently being analyzed and will form the framework for how we cover her administration and the city overall in the coming year.
- We also plan to regularly check in with the mayor on her progress on this priority list (your priority list) during her regular conversations with AirTalk, LAist's talk show on 89.3.
We invite you to ask us questions on all our stories:
- You'll see a box inviting your questions on all of our news and feature stories.
- Those questions don't go into the abyss. We get daily reports on what's on your mind and those questions lead directly to coverage of issues like the upcoming end of the eviction moratorium and what happens when you call 911 with a mental health emergency.
We start our assignments with this key question: Who will this story help?
- That's why you often see resources and additional guidance on our stories about bad weather or the just-ended LAUSD strike.
- It's also why we do out best to write like we're talking to a friend and make it easy to follow complicated issues.
We rely on you
We also make LAist with you in another critical way: it is your support that makes this work possible at all.
Individual donors who give monthly make up our newsroom's largest source of donations — and currently LAist readers make up a very small portion of that pool. It's a business model familiar in the public radio world, where you can hear our work on LAist 89.3 and where we can speak directly to listeners to ask them to help and tell them why LAist deserves their financial support.
As radio listening declines, it's critical that we're also able to persuade our LAist readers to support this independent, high-quality journalism. Our coverage is not locked behind a subscription paywall — it's free to access but not free to create.
That’s why I’m asking for your help. We need this partnership to grow and get even stronger.
We’re currently in the middle of yet another round of major cutbacks at news organizations. That's because revenues have been shrinking as fears grow about an uncertain economy.
Unfortunately, this is already hitting nonprofit newsrooms like ours. We're seeing declines in underwriting (ads in the nonprofit space) and other corporate sponsorships. That means less money to do reporting.
The reality is that many, many people read LAist and never donate to keep this service sustainable.
This week, our friends at NPR — a major partner for our newsroom — saw 10% of their colleagues laid off due to a $30 million budget shortfall. We publish NPR stories on our site to complement the high quality local news from LAist reporters. You also hear NPR reporters and shows on LAist 89.3, where we are the leading public radio station for Los Angeles and much of Southern California. So those cutbacks affect our audience directly.
And there’s reason for us to worry, too. The reality is that many, many people read LAist and never donate to keep this service sustainable. We need a groundswell of supporters right now if we have even a shot at making a big $1 million fundraising goal — and that’s just to balance our books. Help us become sustainable! Donate right now during our spring member drive.
A few more reasons to give
Why give now? You believe local journalism matters, and you use this valuable resource every day to both learn about your city and to connect with it. We offer high quality original news, and much more:
- LAist is a tool you can use to change things in your life — whether you want to run a marathon or waste less water or get a handy guide on where rent control is in place.
- LAist’s best-in-class voter guides make it easy to cast a ballot with confidence. We’re here to help you make sense of complicated local issues and learn about the rich history and happenings of your neighborhood.
- LAist even helps you find things to do in your community every week and every weekend, with picks you can even get delivered straight to your inbox with our Weekender newsletter.
We're asking you to keep LAist free, independent and strong — donate now to power your local news source.
And when you donate, let us know: What does LAist mean to you?
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