TLDR: Andover News launched a Kickstarter campaign Friday to ensure we can continue to offer nonpartisan, local news coverage in our community.

From Andover News Publish & Founder Dave Copeland:

Neighbors First.

I believe the most important job of a local news site is to hold government officials accountable for their decisions and help readers better understand the place where they live. But a close second is helping build community by putting neighbors first. In an age where labels and identity politics have overtaken public discourse, we want to treat people as neighbors first. Neighbors can disagree, and they do not necessarily even have to like each other, but they do have to find a way to live together. And that starts with learning about one another.

An independent, local news site like Andover News can help us better understand our neighbors and their point of view by adhering to the following values:

  • Civic Minded: Good, independent local journalism fosters better local government. In places where local newspapers have had to cut budgets and staff or, in an increasing number of cases, closed entirely, the cost of government has increased and civic participation, including voter turnout, has decreased. In the worst cases, outright government corruption has gone unchecked.
  • Fair: Good journalism is not always fast journalism, so we’ll let a competitor “beat” us on a story if it means we hold a story to get a more complete understanding of the issue we’re reporting on. We’ll give people named in our stories time to respond to requests for comment before publishing. If you think we’re being biased or unfair, we’ll respond to your email or voicemail within one business day to discuss the decisions made in covering a story.
  • Nonpartisan:The best journalism presents readers with the best version of the available facts to help them establish their own opinion. We will not endorse candidates for political offices and we will make every effort to cover issues from all sides (instead of the usual “both” sides). We will not publish editorials telling readers what we think (or, as is often the case, what we think readers should think), although we do welcome submissions of commentaries and opinion pieces from members of the community that have a clear connection to local life and issues.
  • Always local: We won’t chase state or national stories unless there is a clear-cut connection to Andover. Plenty of other “local” news sites already do this by aggregating coverage from other news outlets. We’d rather use the time to write profiles of local people doing interesting stuff around town, finding ways to cover local sports and keep tabs on the more than 40 boards and commissions in Andover that make decisions impacting our readers’ lives.
  • Transparent: Objectivity is the standard journalists strive for, but objectivity is an impossible ideal for humans to attain. The very first decision a journalist makes – whether a story is important enough to cover – is subjective. In addition to being fair, we’ll strive for the next best thing: making clear where our biases lie and explaining our news decisions clearly.
  • Professional: Local journalism is not complicated work, but it is hard work, and the people who do it deserve to be paid a livable wage. Journalists should be able to afford to live in the community they cover. One of our top goals for the first year of operation is to develop a business model that will allow us to hire an experienced, full-time reporter to cover Andover. Within three years we want to expand that staff to include sports and local business reporters, a designer and editor.

Andover News will remain free to readers until the end of 2022. After that, we’re going to ask readers to kick in $7 per month (or $75 per year). We’ve thoroughly researched several different business models and, after careful consideration of the pros and cons, have decided a modest reader subscription is the best way to help us live up to the values outlined above: remaining free for readers means we’d have to clutter the site with ads, and we’d have to rely on clickbait and hype to drive page views. Adopting the nonprofit model that’s being tried in other communities means journalists spend part of their time working as fundraisers, when they should be spending all of their time working as reporters.

To jumpstart our growth, we’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to get our initial funding in place. Anyone who contributes $50 to our successful Kickstarter will have access to all our subscriber-only content through the end of 2023. Anyone who contributes $100 will have access to all our subscriber-only content through the end of 2024. Contribute $150, and we’ll not only give you access through the end of 2025, we’ll also throw in a free ad or announcement in our daily newsletter. 

Want to contribute more? Let me know and we can talk about an investment in Andover News that works for both sides.

Your contribution not only helps us cover expenses, but it helps us grow and give Andover local news coverage that has not been seen in a generation. Think of it as an owner’s manual for your investment in Andover. You can also support us and your business with by advertising: we’re also offering reduced rates on newsletter sponsorships and other ad products through the end of the year.

Not ready to contribute? You can still access all of our content until Dec. 31. After that, you can still read our daily newsletter and access a sampling of our stories on Instagram. But the Kickstarter campaign is the best way to lock in a low subscription rate and help us survive the crucial first year that is the biggest challenge for any small business.

It’s no secret that journalism, and local news coverage in particular, is in trouble. Big newspaper companies have been cutting staff and outright closing newspapers that served their communities for hundreds of years. Still, there are signs that Andover residents want more in terms of local news coverage than what they are getting now. This Kickstarter is the test to see if our assumptions and research — that people will pay a modest amount to stay informed about a place they care about — are correct.

Please help keep Andover News going and growing. Contribute today!

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