Publisher's letter: Why subscribe?

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Please subscribe to your Ojai Valley News today!
Laura Rearwin WardOjai Valley News publisher

Rights, when not exercised, eventually cease to exist. Our right to a free press is written expressly in the very First Amendment, and is as fundamental to our American values as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. 

When news organizations are in trouble, democracy is in trouble. Your local news source is essential because of its function to inform and defend the interests of the people. Ideological barriers are broken down when neighbors get to know each other as people. A well-informed citizenry makes better decisions and actively engages in its community. 
Our Constitution entitles us to have a free press, but no one is obligated to give it to us. A recent joint study by Gallup and the Knight Foundation found that only 20 percent of people are willing to pay for news. Does that mean that 80 percent of people believe this vital freedom is not important? Have they been convinced this freedom does not have value? Do they think newspapers are financially stable? According to the study, and despite the evidence, a majority do.
That same study also said that 86 percent of people think they should have access to local news. Who shall deliver them this news? Newspapers were created to be the watchdog for the people, so the government is not a good choice for funding. Do people believe that local businesses, often scraping to get by, will pay for local news? After start-ups have paid their last advertising dollar to Mark Zuckerberg, there is not much left to invest in the shoe leather of local reporters. Perhaps local gossip is all some people need, but at the Ojai Valley News, we are on the case — the trail of what's new and what’s happening. Our reporters are trained professionals with a code of ethics Ojai can count on. Opinions are interesting; facts are imperative; arts, sports and culture give us color and preserve our history. The OVN brings you the news of our town.
The business model of depending on advertising to pay for local news is taking down newspapers one and two at a time. Those who stay alive are thinking ahead to “viewers like you” — the members. The 86 percent who say local news is important will need to make the choice to join the OVN if local news is to continue to be reported.
Currently, the OVN has an 18/82 revenue split of subscriptions to advertising, and I believe we need to move toward 50/50 to be secure.
We urge you to protect your right to a free press through subscribing to the Ojai Valley news as we  seek to protect you with vital information. Information is power. Let's never give it up. Together — community and newspaper — we create the town that we want and deserve to live in. Local news coverage is a choice we make individually and as a community. The stability of the OVN lies with us. I’m betting on Ojai to beat the sad statistics and keep its news source. Please help us to reach our goal to add 1,000 new subscribers in the last quarter of 2020.
Your choice and your neighbor’s choice matter. Thank you!

Call: 805-646-1476; 
Mail: P.O. Box 277, Ojai CA 93024
In Person: 101 Vallerio Ave, Ojai

Believer in independent local news,
Laura Rearwin Ward, publisher

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