Reflections of a paperboy: How $2 a week boosts journalism

John Bebow, President and CEO of The Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine

In the 1980s, I was a Lansing State Journal paperboy. I had 55 customers in my neighborhood. When I recently drove my old route I think I spotted three Lansing State Journal news boxes. So much has changed. The traditional for-profit newspaper model continues to erode. Newspapers employ fewer than half the journalists they employed 15 years ago.

We started Bridge Magazine six years ago to help fill this void. Our model is working. We’re nonprofit. We pour every dollar back into the publication. In 2018, eight full-time, veteran, statewide reporters will deliver in-depth issues analysis, campaign watchdogging, and news that matters to readers across Michigan. Bridge Editor David Zeman is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Managing Editor Joel Kurth is the reigning Michigan Press Association “Journalist of the Year.”

As Bridge grows, I can’t help but remember my old State Journal route from years ago. I collected a couple bucks each week from those subscribers. Fast forward 35 years… When we reach 10,000 readers who are willing to pay $2 per week for Bridge… At that point, you – the readers – will have created a sustainable, nonprofit, public service journalism model that can deliver for Michigan for the next generation.

Will you contribute to help us realize that vision?

It takes one minute to donate online to Bridge.

Year-end 2017 donations are matched by five funders!

With the help of readers just like you, Bridge Magazine provides Michigan with an important public service… Real news… Data-driven, factual, nonpartisan reporting by experienced professional journalists… At a time when many newspapers have been forced to cut staff dramatically and retreat from in-depth coverage of many statewide issues.   

Bridge is nonprofit. We deliver our reporting for free - online, via email, and on social media. But freedom of the press isn’t free. Dependable, in-depth, professional journalism takes time, expertise, and money to deliver. To a large extent, Bridge’s future growth is dependent on voluntary, tax-deductible donations from readers just like you.

How much is Bridge journalism worth to you in the year ahead? $25? ... $50? … $100?... Two dollars per week? Will you join the more than 2,000 readers who now financially support our work?

Five philanthropies will match your year-end 2017 Bridge donation! The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Glassen Memorial Fund, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Wege Foundation are all matching Bridge reader donations! So is News Match, a national nonprofit news campaign supported by Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Who’s going to tell you? Who’s going to watchdog government? Who’s going to tell you if candidates are telling the truth on the campaign trail? Who’s going to tell you how your local schools are performing? Who’s going to tell you how your tax dollars are spent? Who’s going to inform you about changes in the Michigan economy? Who’s going to respectfully share the diverse perspectives of Michigan’s ten million residents?

Bridge Magazine will tell you. With your support, Bridge will tell you more than ever in 2018.

Thank you!

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

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