Independent journalism in Montclair is only possible because of you. Your support is essential to keeping Montclair Local alive and serving the community for years to come.
Montclair Local Nonprofit News is the community's newsroom. That's why we're asking you, today, now, to become a member. It only takes a sustaining contribution of $10 a month; in addition to helping make our journalism possible, you'll continue to get our print edition for as long as you let those automatic contributions continue.
We're also glad to take a yearly payment of $120. And we gratefully accept larger contributions from those with the means and the belief that local news matters.
Make your contribution with the form below, and read on to learn where your money goes, why independent news matters to Montclair, why we've set out on this mission to serve the community we all love.
Why contribute to Montclair Local?
At MontclairLocal.news, we gladly provide all of our journalism for free, with no paywall or restrictions. That includes breaking news, such as our stories about how to get or seek help after Ida. It includes accountability reporting, asking important questions of our municipal and school leaders. It includes explorations of the life, art and culture of an ever-changing Montclair.
We, like our founding publisher Heeten Choxi, believe the community is made better when everyone has access to robust information about what's happening in Montclair. The information you need to plan, to debate, to connect, to be part of this community needs to be free. But providing it takes the time and energy of a dedicated staff of full-time, part-time and freelance journalists. It's an expensive endeavor, one that's proven too expensive for many local publications; that's why so many have cut back severely or shut down entirely.
As a nonprofit, independent news organization, we have no giant media conglomerate funding our journalism, or the production of our weekly print edition. We depend on you.
Approximately 25% of our roughly $800,000 budget comes from advertising. A small amount comes from foundations and other institutional funders. The largest percentage comes from contributions from individuals throughout Montclair who care greatly about our special and unique community.
With your support, we can continue providing the in-depth local news coverage and community discussion you can’t find anywhere else.
Our basic request of $10 per month, or $120 per year makes you a member — and entitles you to an ongoing subscription to our print edition. It helps cover critical costs, including printing and mailing Montclair Local to households like yours. Donations beyond that help ensure Montclair Local has the stability to continue serving Montclair far into the future, and the capacity to grow.
Frequently asked questions
Is my donation to Montclair Local tax deductible?
It is! Montclair Local is a tax-exempt public charity under 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. All contributions above $39 are tax deductible.
Is there a difference between a donor and a member?
All donors of at least $120 per year (or who provide a sustaining contribution of $10 per month, automatically billed) are members, and receive our print edition each week. We depend as well on the contributions of donors who can and choose to provide more. Donations can always be made at MontclairLocal.news/donations.
What if I can't afford $120 but still want to get the paper?
We seek to get news to as many people in the community as possible, regardless of their financial status. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work with you to find another option.
Will my donation be made public?
As a matter of transparency, we disclose the names of donors who've given $1,000 or more on our website. Donors don't get any special favors when it comes to news coverage, but we believe it's best to be upfront with readers about where our support comes from.
How will my money be used?
Montclair Local's yearly operating expenses approach $800,000 a year. Somewhere over $100,000 of that goes to printing and delivering the newspaper to members each week. The vast majority of the remainder pays for the salaries of our journalists — as of early 2022, that includes an editor, associate editor, two full-time news reporters, one part-time sports writer/editor, a part-time paginator and a part-time copy editor. We also work with several freelance reporters and photographers, and employ a business manager, fundraising director and a part-time assistant.
Can't you cut back on expenses?
There are odds and ends beyond that — our web hosting, our bookkeeping, and so forth. But those aren't make-or-break expenses. Saving real money would mean cutting back on news coverage — the community service Montclair Local was founded to provide. We've seen what happens when newspapers cut back; Montclair Local was started to address that problem.
So how do for-profit newspapers make it work?
They often don't. Newspapers are shutting down left and right. When Gannett bought the Montclair Times, it drastically cut back the staff (we should know; many of our founding journalists came from there). According to Pew Research, there were more than 71,000 newspaper newsroom employees in 2004, and about 30,000 in 2020. Ad revenue has been in freefall — down from an estimated $49 million in 2005 to less than $9 million in 2020.
What about your competitors?
We're proud to be part of an ecosystem of several hyperlocal websites serving Montclair and nearby towns, and they each do their jobs well. They each set out their model and priorities differently — but Montclair Local aims to provide our community with more. We provide robust, thorough, enterprising coverage solely focused on Montclair, with a full team of journalists who make informing Montclair their entire mission.
I'm ... not sure if I'm already a member. I get the paper sometimes ... I think.
We understand the confusion. We do what are called "Total Market Circulation" distributions to the entire township a few times a year, or sometimes give the paper for free to a neighborhood on a temporary basis. It isn't always clear to people occassionally receiving the paper if they already subscribe.
If you're not sure if you're a current member, email email@example.com and we'll get it sorted out.
So, can I get my event/topic/issue covered if I'm a donor?
You can ask or pitch us a story — just like anyone else can. We welcome story ideas and feedback from anyone in the community at all, regardless of whether they've supported us financially. But under our editorial independence policy, no one (including our own governing and advisory boards) can make decisions about our news coverage besides our journalists.
Do you accept anonymous donations?
We'd consider accepting anonymous donations for general support (not coverage of a particular topic) only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with Institute for Nonprofit News Membership Standards. If you're proposing such a donation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it.