Xpress faces unprecedented COVID-19 challenges

Xpress call for support

Dear Reader,

Each of us is currently being challenged to act heroically. Xpress’ challenge is to tell the stories of those actions and show how, together, they are creating and maintaining our community.

We’re working hard to operate efficiently and provide you with the most up-to-date and useful information. But we are facing unprecedented challenges in our newsroom.

A lot of what has abruptly closed or stopped in the last week — events, businesses, fitness centers, restaurants — are our advertisers. In the face of these cessations, many organizations have canceled their ads, which means that about half the revenue that supports Xpress‘ community-focused reporting has vanished in a matter of days.

To give you a sense of how serious this is: The Stranger, Seattle’s storied, Pulitzer Prize-winning alt-weekly, just laid off three-fourths of its staff and shut down its print publication — temporarily, it hopes — in response to the coronavirus-related downturn.

Xpress, too, must reduce costs to survive as a public service over the next few weeks or months, however long this lasts. However, we do not plan to cease publishing the weekly newspaper. We’ve provided local community news for 25 years. Now isn’t the time to stop.

So we are asking you for your help: If you’re able to chip in and help us through this challenging time, your membership contribution would be very timely and much appreciated. Your contribution — whether $5 or $10 or $25 a month; $10 or $50 or $100 as a one-time give — will help keep Xpress’ journalism strong at a time when having free, accessible and thorough coverage is especially vital to the health and wellbeing of our community.

If you’ve been putting off making a contribution, there’s no time like now. Here’s that link again. It only takes a moment.

If you’ve already joined or made a one-time contribution, consider making another one-time contribution or upping your monthly donation to the next tier. Share this email with your friends and family. Support the businesses who are advertising in Xpress and let them know you saw their advertisement in the paper.

Over the next week, our goal is to add 100 new members to our program. We hope that you can pitch in and help us meet this goal so that we can continue to deliver reliable news and information to everyone in the community.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jeff Fobes
Publisher and founder
Mountain Xpress


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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