By Adrian Garson
I read a story published in The Atlantic six months ago that started with this wonderful paragraph: “Among the important steps you should take during this crisis: Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. And buy a subscription to your local newspaper.”
If you don’t know the specifics of how our family of publications operates, we’re a newspaper group completely funded by advertising from local businesses. From our hospitals to our Realtors to our restaurants, banks and boutiques, our business model is simple, if not a bit outdated. We work really hard to create a news product worth reading each week. And if we do a good job attracting readers, local businesses want to be associated with that content. Whether you receive the South Charlotte Weekly, Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly, The Weekly Waxhaw or Indian Trail Weekly, they are all completely free to our readers thanks to the advertising support of local businesses.
Study after study shows the best advertising results come when surrounded by strong editorial content, and for almost two decades, we’ve produced excellent content.
But today, I’m doing something I haven’t done before as publisher of Charlotte Media Group. It’s time I ask you to consider supporting your community newspaper. Your support goes directly to the overall mission we have of providing trusted, relevant content to the homes and businesses in our slice of the south Charlotte area. We employ real journalists whose sole responsibility is to vet and report on the stories that directly affect our communities. The news we cover isn’t always flashy or late-breaking, but it’s important because it affects our day-to-day lives. I’d be willing to bet many of you have had your student-athletes featured in our paper, or your nonprofit highlighted by one of our reporters. I’d imagine some of you have opened a new business in one of our markets and we’ve written a story about you. Sure, we cover economic development and, we’ve covered the pandemic on a local level, but we really enjoy telling stories about the people in our community. And, I speak for my entire team when I say, thank you for allowing us to tell your stories.
Next week, you’ll find a letter from me inserted into your newspaper describing our Voluntary Pay Program. If you’re a longtime reader of ours, you may be familiar. We had our last Voluntary Pay Program in 2016. The choice to take a four-year pause on Voluntary Pay was by design. We’ve made a lot of changes to our publications in the last four years in how we support the communities we serve.
Some of those changes include hosting community-wide events. We have held four Senior Expo events since 2018 where we support the older adults in our communities by feeding them a free breakfast and lunch while they browse dozens of senior-related vendors in our area. We host two events annually that are designed specifically to celebrate small business owners. In 2019, we hosted our very first political candidate forum in Matthews. This allowed for a moderated forum in which the community was given the opportunity to ask questions of Matthews commissioners and those running for office. We’ve hosted a women’s luncheon and supported a local charity in doing so, as well as started our very own networking group in Indian Trail in an effort to support small businesses in that market.
From the moment I took on the role of publisher, I have been humbled by the support we receive from the community whether it comes in the form of feedback on the work we do or monetary support from business owners and readers alike. Being a trusted resource in the markets we serve is our number one priority and we’ve learned this year more than any other time in recent history how important local journalism is in communities like ours.
Right now, we do need to ask for your help. I’m humbled and forever indebted to the readers who have supported our mission over the years and I look forward to continuing to be a trusted resource for many more years to come.
Want to help?
Support the newspaper by visiting www.cmgweekly.com/donation.