One day in 1997, Becky Clark, just promoted editor-in-chief of the Town Crier, was paying Town Crier bills when she came upon one for a few hundred dollars for dues to the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA). Not being sure what that bill was about, she investigated. She found that the CNPA existed to promote newspapers in California by providing services to them — including instructive seminars, specialized legal advice, and lobbying activities — and that Town Crier publishers had been members for years. Becky began making use of those services.
Now, under a slightly altered name, the California News Publishers Association is an invaluable tool for your Town Crier. For one, it annually provides the Town Crier with legal advice that otherwise would cost thousands — all still included in the few hundred dollars of annual dues.
More particularly, it was at a CNPA seminar in Santa Monica in May of 2017 that Becky and I learned of the successes some nonprofit, online-only newspapers were having with a National Public Radio-type membership model. We have explained several times why we feel a nonprofit model would not work for the Town Crier: Nonprofits have boards of directors, and we feel there are various factions in our community that would strive to get their own present and former board members and friends on the Town Crier’s board so as to gain editorial control of the published news.
But driving home from that Santa Monica CNPA seminar, we discussed whether a membership model possibly might work for a newspaper like the Town Crier, even though it is not a nonprofit and publishes on paper as well as online. Three months later — out of shear desperation — we gave it a try in an editorial “Does the Town Crier have a future? Our readers must decide.” The rest is the successful history of which all you Town Crier Members are the key part.
Please renew your memberships when they come due so the Town Crier can continue to keep you advised on community happenings from traffic collisions, to the activities of community organizations as well as entertainment opportunities.
Remember that your Town Crier’s weekly news meetings are open to the public. Come participate Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. at Idyllwild Library — and our thanks to you all!