“We think your paper is amazing,” the head of a small progressive foundation told me over lunch this summer. “But,” she added, “more people should be reading it. And we want to help.”
My jaw dropped.
The Indypendent has been a labor of love for everyone who has participated in it over the past 16 years. We have done consistently outstanding work. With the exception of an occasional special issue, however, our print circulation has never surpassed 20,000 copies, due to a lack of resources.
Our angel funders have been as good as their word providing seed money starting this fall for us to install dozens of shiny red newspaper boxes on street corners across the city. The vinyl stickers on the boxes with “INDY” emblazoned in bright red letters are visible from a half-block away. We also have new wire racks in dozens of public libraries and other cultural centers. Also in the works is a website overhaul for early 2017, a more dynamic social media presence and the production of more podcasts and short videos.
However, the print edition continues to be the Indy’s core project. And as 2016 comes to a close, you can now find our news boxes in the Lower East Side, the East Village, Chelsea, Harlem, Astoria, Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Flatbush, Park Slope and downtown Brooklyn. We’re pushing 30,000 per month in circulation and looking to hit 40,000 by early next year and continue growing from there.
What all this growth means on the ground is that many thousands more New Yorkers were able to pick up our post-election issue and now this month’s blockbuster 24-page issue. How much could we expand our circulation if money weren’t a limiting factor? As a thought experiment, keep in mind that almost 400,000 people in New York City voted for Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, in last April’s presidential primary, and many more would have done so had it not been for restrictions based on age, citizenship status or arcane voter registration rules.
A Different Way of Seeing the World
The hunger for a different way of seeing the world and what needs to be done is real, all the more so now that Donald Trump is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. We´re rising to the occasion, and as we do so, we’re managing our growth in an organized, methodical manner with the participation of Indy readers who have joined our “adopt-a-box” program and are helping keep our boxes neat and orderly, or who are helping us find new venues for the paper to be placed. You can meet some of these unsung heroes here.
What we have accomplished this fall is only be the beginning. We would like to put out hundreds of more boxes. However, the angel funding we’ve received is based on the understanding that our readers will also step up in a big way to help make this expansion sustainable. This is why we’re seeking to raise $40,000 in this year’s fund drive, more than we have ever asked of our readers before.
While funding for the newspaper boxes and racks has been incredibly helpful, we still have bills to pay and all these new boxes to fill. The good news is that, with printing costs of only 10 cents per copy, every $15 you give pays for 150 copies of the Indy, every $100 pays for 1,000 copies. With a $500 contribution, you will pay for enough papers to fill one of those shiny red boxes for a year.
We have a unique opportunity to build a powerful left newspaper and multi-media platform that can amplify the voices of social movements in the Age of Trump here in New York as well as those far beyond the five boroughs. But we can only go as far as our readers will take us.
Will you chip in and help us meet our goal of $40,000 so that we can head into 2017 with the wind at our backs? Every little bit counts. Whether you can give $15 or, $1,500 or more, you will be supporting independent media that is free and fearless and that even in the darkest days ahead, will keep alive the vision of the better world we all want and deserve.
We’re ready to do the work. So please dig deep and give today.
Thank you for keeping the Indy going stronger than ever.