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Sharing knowledge and action with others who may benefit

The Lakeville Journal Co. Editorial

This newspaper includes in its mandate communicating not just with its readers, but also with its colleagues across the region through press associations and other groups, such as the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. These organizations are critical in creating a sense of shared mission and practical ideas to improve coverage and revenues, which are so important for local journalism to remain relevant and alive. During the past two years of pandemic closures, these groups did not have the ease to gather in person for seminars and conferences, like so many other professions.

Both The Lakeville Journal and Millerton News are members of the New England Newspaper and Press Association and the New York Press Association. While both give support to those who practice journalism, it’s the New York Press Association (NYPA) that is populated by news entities that are most like this small news source: The newspapers that are part of it are local and weekly. They serve all regions of New York, however, so include Manhattan and Long Island as well as rural areas in Dutchess County and in upstate New York. The common denominator is that the publications cover the local news that’s of such great importance to the readers in their beats.

This past weekend, the New York Press Association hosted a Fall Conference in Albany where the Lakeville Journal and Millerton News were presented as two of the few in the small media category that have been converted to nonprofit ownership. Becoming a 501(c)(3) in 2021 has given this group the opportunity to offer tax benefits to donors according to the law, and to apply for different grants that would otherwise be unavailable to it. It also offered the chance to create a new Foundation board, which is energetic, and full of ideas to help the publications not only continue but thrive.

That enthusiasm was the impetus for the many 125th anniversary events that happened this summer, which enabled us to reach out to so many and build a sense of community among those who attended them. This nonprofit approach is a model that we believe other small media throughout the country should be able to benefit from, using it to survive when they may not have been able to do so as for-profit companies.

Because we don’t want to be an island of community news, surrounded by news deserts throughout the region and the nation, we want others to find a path that works for them, hoping that it continues to work for us. So we will continue to share with our colleagues as often as possible the steps we took to become nonprofit, as we did this weekend in Albany. Telling this story will never become old or boring for us. And we hope our fellow local journalists will benefit from our experience and action.

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