What Now For The Coastal Post
By Don Deane
As the Coastal Post marches through its 30th year of publication with the distinction of being the longest continuously owned newspaper in Marin, we pause to wonder, where does it go from here. We've been doing this work for a long time, both politically and environmentally and there hasn't been a lot of money made doing it.
We've got readers-25,000 to 30,000 in Marin and more than 75,000 on the internet. Some really love us, embrace what we do, and are true supporters of the work. Others believe we do heresy here, maintain that it's the devil's politics that we espouse, and should be gone forthwith. Couldn't give you the breakdown, where the majority of the readers might be. But they are all reading. Every month.
Although the Coastal Post has had more than a slight modicum of success with what we do editorially, we continue to be the oldest financial-loser newspaper in the county. Why, you might ask?
For starters, although there have been ever so brief moments of advertising sales brilliance, advertising sales have for the most part always come up wanting. Advertisers will advertise in the paper, sales people sell the space, they just don't stay around for very long and don't make quite enough money. So if the ad rep stays around for six months to a year getting a draw against commissions we're lucky to break even on the deal. And the good ones? How are you going to keep them down on the farm...
There are subscriptions. We have about 400 loyal subscribers. If we had 1,000 we'd just about break even at $24 a pop. Ever try to pump up subscription sales for a newspaper you can get for free? It's a hard sell at best, a yuk at worst.
And then there's the publisher. I was 32 when I started the Coastal Post. Now I'm 62. I've never made making a buck the priority. I have always resided in the editorial end of the barge. But if the publication is to survive the publishers demise, there has to be financial footing that will carry it forward.
The bottom line is reader support. How much do readers care to see the Coastal Post continue to publish? How important to its readers is the Coastal Post's brand of news and editorial point of view?
That's the question and here's the plan:
1) We're going to run an ongoing subscription drive for lean ($12), mean ($24), and supreme ($48) subscribers who want to support the paper whether they get it for free at stands or through the mail.
2) We will offer discount advertising for businesses or political entities who submit camera-ready ads through the mail or as attachments to email. The rate: $10 per inch for one time ads; $8 per inch for multiple insertions.
3) Search for a Successor Publisher(s) who will assume publishing responsibilities and ownership of the newspaper as the current publisher and founder fades away into the sunset. This could and hopefully will take years.
If you didn't notice, independent newspapers are an endangered species as the large and small media conglomerates gobble up the independent publications, radio and TV stations. So it's probably worth trying to preserve the ones that are left in the world.
Give me your ideas, thoughts and energy. Email me: [email protected]