“If we have our own why in life, we shall get along with almost any how.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)
The past year has been a whirlwind of change for me since starting this business. After reflecting on those changes, I am reminded why I do this.
Flashback to May 2016: I had a cozy job, making $30,000 a year right out of college. Sure, I was overworked and burning out quickly, but I believed/hoped that I was doing something good for Jefferson County by providing honest, accurate news, keeping people informed about their communities. Or, at least I was trying my best to do so. That kept me going.
However, I believed that people deserved more than they were getting from the local media. There were many stories left untold, and I was determined to tell them. To bring people the full story. That’s why I launched Fairbury News Now.
Not long after starting the business, I met with Larry Junker at the Jefferson County Fair in 2016. Something he said stuck with me, and I will always remember it: “Thank you for telling the story that no one else does—thank you for telling our story.”
There are tons of stories out there in Jefferson County alone! Doubling my efforts, I worked hard to publish something new on my site every day. A year later, there are just over 1,100 posts on the website—1,100 stories, ranging from a Jansen teen pursuing her goal of becoming the fastest barrel-racer to the story of a music teacher conducting one last concert before retiring.
Even with all of my work I still can’t be everywhere, and that, to me, is the most upsetting thing about this venture. I don’t have a large staff of reporters to go cover events. In fact, for the longest time, it was only my mom and I taking this on. Now, Fred Arnold has joined us in helping to promote the community.
It’s still a struggle, but we believe we’re doing something good for the region. This is my full time job.
So, how is this all possible? I think the question I’m asked most often is “how do you make money off of this?” Subscriptions and advertising. I absolutely hate asking for money, but I realize it is necessary to keep this going. A lot of people have shown their support for Fairbury News Now by subscribing to the site, or through advertising, and I am very grateful for their help. Keeping this business alive would not be possible without their support.
Another question people ask me a lot, usually on social media, is why do they have to pay to see articles on Fairbury News Now. The following is a general example of that: “Why do I have to subscribe or login to read the rest of this article? You’re the one who offered the article to read. It should be free.” “It’s stupid you can’t read them without paying when the (sic) post stuff like this.”
I usually respond that we can’t offer everything for free, which is true. To cover stories, I usually rack up hundreds of miles on my car every month. It costs money to host a website. And, to be perfectly honest, my time isn’t really free either since this is my sole source of income. This is why I ask people to subscribe after giving away so many free articles every month. Without money, we wouldn’t be able to continue bringing people the full story.
I believe in a strong future for Fairbury News Now, but that future is only possible with support from viewers like you. With that, if you believe in the work that we are doing here at Fairbury News Now, please consider subscribing to tell the untold story—the story of Jefferson County.