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  • Jim Townsend

Portland Beacon turns three, needs your support more than ever

A recent notification on my LinkedIn account caught my eye. A friend congratulated me on my work anniversary. I had to stop what I was doing for a minute to do the math, but LinkedIn was correct! The Portland Beacon will be three years old this Saturday.

We posted our first piece back on August 22nd of 2017. Today… three years and 2,067 posts later… we are still doing our best to share the news of this community.

Not long ago, I was forwarded a Washington Post article about the erosion of local news coverage in America. You can find that article HERE.

While that article focuses on the darker actions of local decision makers working without the watchful eye of a journalist, it also takes a deeper look at the importance of local news and how there is a void in local news coverage today.

While we in Portland may not have as much going on as the bigger cities do, we still have plenty of news worth sharing. Here at the Beacon, our goal is “to serve as a steward of the community by educating citizens so as to encourage a more engaged and vibrant community.” From the schools and city council, to local small businesses and nonprofits, we have a lot going on in this town.

Traditional printed newspapers continue to change across America, and our community is no exception. Printed publications have evolved into something that seems to rarely cover true local news. They may still have a familiar name that you have known for years, but most of the content just isn’t local. Many have staffs that are only a fraction of what they were a decade or two ago.

I started the Beacon three years ago to establish a new local news source for Portland that keeps the focus on local. While exhausting at times, running this site has been an awesome experience. It has given me the opportunity to meet many fine people, and share numerous events with the community.

The Beacon is not your typical news site. It cannot survive on advertising dollars alone. While I do sincerely appreciate our advertisers, especially Terry Frewen at Frewen Realty, Doug Logel at Grand Hearing Center, and Chopper and Jonda Schrauben at the Wagon Wheel, who have supported the Beacon since the beginning, we also need the support of our readers.

As a reader, your clicks, likes, shares and comments really do help. Our social media platforms use reader engagement to drive who else sees those posts.

Subscribing to our daily or weekly email newsletters also gives us data to show perspective advertisers how many local residents value the content of The Beacon.

If you as a reader are interested in contributing a few bucks to help us cover our costs, that would be greatly appreciated. You can get more information on how to do so by check or by PayPal HERE.

We are always looking for new local advertisers as well. We offer affordable options for even the smallest businesses and your sponsorship supports local journalism right here in the community.

The Beacon also has some news of its own coming in the near future. Longtime volunteer contributor Robert Lathers and I are currently working to a establish a nonprofit organization to take over the ownership and operation of the Beacon. Bob has written more than 170 pieces for the Beacon in the last three years and shares a passion for local news coverage with me. He also has extensive experience leading nonprofits. We feel strongly that this transition to being a nonprofit organization will better allow the Beacon to thrive in the years to come.

We will share more details on this nonprofit in the future.

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