To the readers of Last Best News:
We have not made a direct appeal for donations since last March, when David Crisp and I launched a fund drive to support our new partnership, a few months after David shut down The Billings Outpost, a weekly newspaper.
We’ve had a good year since then, with readership gradually creeping up to an average of about 2,000 people a day. Advertising has also been strong. If my calculations are correct, we have more ads on Last Best News this month than at any time since I started this online newspaper almost three years ago.
We’ve broken some big stories and we’ve provided a steady stream of news, opinion and diversion you can’t get anywhere else on the web. All along, we have tried to present everything as fairly and completely as possible even while unapologetically making our beliefs and biases known in our columns.
We hope you will agree that we occupy a vital position in the new world of news, in which traditional newspapers struggle to stay afloat, start-ups small and large attempt to fill gaps in coverage, and ever-increasing numbers of so-called news outlets traffic in rumor and outright fabrication.
In the next few weeks we hope to unveil initiatives involving other sources of news and information—nothing terribly dramatic, but becoming more relevant and more important to people who value good reporting and open communication.
Despite all that progress, there have been difficulties. Growing larger inevitably meant that our expenses grew as well. We have managed to pay ourselves and pay all our bills so far, and we are in no imminent danger of being hauled off to debtor’s prison, but our margins have been slim, our bank account slimmer.
The one thing we were not able to do, in order to pay all our other bills, was to make any quarterly payments to the IRS this year, which means we are now facing a total tax bill that is, by our standards at least, fairly large.
We also have a sizable number of year-end expenses that have been stacking up, but the need to prepay as much of our tax bill as possible forms the basis of our appeal for donations from readers.
Many readers already make regular monthly donations to Last Best News, and every month we receive one-time donations from other readers. For all of those donations we are deeply grateful. Just recently, perhaps because people are in the holiday spirit, we have seen an unusual bump in donations, which makes us optimistic that this appeal, too, will have some success.
You can click right here to be taken to our donations page, which will give you the option of making monthly payments or one-time donations, via PayPal or by credit card. Checks are also welcome. Just make them out to Last Best News and mail them to Box 1351, Billings, MT, 59103.
You can also help by telling your friends about our fund drive, sharing our appeal on Facebook, buying some advertising or going out of your way to support the businesses advertising with us now.
If you can’t afford a donation (been there!) we certainly understand that, too, and thank you just for being a reader, which is the best support of all.