Last week, I received an email from a woman who lives here full-time but soon will be part-time. The letter is well-written and thoughtful. I asked if I could reprint it in “Readers Write.” She said yes, so it is on this page (from Violeta Villacorta).

It is an appeal to stop placing Town Criers in all post office boxes, especially since so many part-timers live here and rent such small boxes that the papers pile up week after week.

We all know that the newspaper industry is suffering and Jack’s and my hope when we bought the TC back in 2013 was that we could avoid it closing. We receive lots of feedback that the paper is critical to this community. We believe so, too.

We know the TC is taken for granted. I feel it every time someone sends me letter to the editor or a press release. They “expect” it to be published. People believe the TC always will be here. It won’t.

Because most businesses in town don’t realize they are what keep us going. Without advertising, even to say, “Hey, I support local news,” we’re not going to be here, folk.

We know you like the convenience of coming in to make photocopies and faxes. But those things don’t pay the bills: the reporters, the photographers, the composers, the printer, the libel insurance, the business insurance, the auto insurance, the worker’s comp insurance, the rent, the utilities, etc., etc.

Jack and I will just close up shop and go back to retirement. He just turned 72 last week and he’s getting tired of waking up at 3:30 a.m. to drive off the Hill to load up newspapers and lug them all over town. For free.

We decided last year to double our circulation to entice advertising by putting the newspapers in all local p.o. and rural boxes for free. Did it work? Not much.

Businesses often turn to Facebook, even though we have thousands more readers than they have friends.

So, we are seeking feedback from our readers.

First, do you like Vio’s idea of having free papers available throughout the community and not in your mail box?

Do you even care about having a physical newspaper in your hand? Would you prefer we just distribute online?

We’re ready to just go completely digital to keep the TC alive.  That would eliminate a huge printing bill and huge mailing bill every week.

These are just some of the ideas we’re chewing on right now.

The Rotary Club has invited Jack to speak at an upcoming meeting about the issue of how the TC can survive without outsourcing it. It needs to stay local. We have family members brainstorming on how to do that, too. We invite your suggestions, such as Vio’s.

And, by the way, we are grateful to those businesses who do support the TC with your advertising. We know you could spend it somewhere else but you choose to support “Almost All the News, Part of the Time,” a local tradition for 70 years.

Becky Clark, Editor


  1. Dear Becky,
    I am one of those several people who take the Town Crier for granted. We have been accustomed to getting something for nothing up here for some time now.
    Some of us have noticed the absence of a certain widely invested business enterprise in a certain core industry which greatly supported the TC in the past. What we now have is a feudal lord in charge of the township and in charge of huge advertising dollars. It seems like every other person up here is in the same business and most perform poorly. But that is a horse of a different color as is Idyllwild itself. That is becoming less of an excuse as time marches on and demographics change. Since his dollars go off the hill for advertising perhaps we should all reconsider going off the hill for his services.
    This lord exploits local foreign labor, avoids local TC advertising, and otherwise feeds off the township while at the same disguising himself as a township godfather.
    I think you should charge a nominal fee for the paper copies and not distribute them free. Furthermore I feel that free online access is essential to many readers off the hill as well as your advertisers. You need circulation numbers which could include website hits.
    Also a subscription newsletter sent to online subscribers free would help with advertising clout I think.
    Best of luck to you and thanks for your efforts for as long as you are here.

  2. One more thing Becky: You have three real estate offices listed in your paper. I believe we should consider choosing ONLY one of those three for all our real estate needs. That’s dollar power. Idyllwild MOUNTAIN Realty, Robin Oates, and Jackie Kretsinger, Village Properties. Make your dollars work for the community and its VILLAGE VOICE.