We’re on to something big at Salish Current, something powerful and life-enhancing. It’s called nonprofit local news. This is independent, fact-based journalism, the real deal: of the people, for the people, by the people.
We’re also up against some enormous challenges — getting to a running start from zero, for one. We’ve built a news organization from scratch, out of an idea and a lot of input and support.
Another challenge is overcoming the trend toward erosion of trust in anything labeled “news.” These days we all are challenged with identifying who to trust for news, with so many sources of information and misinformation available.
Challenges aside, we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of our incorporation this Sunday, June 5, 2021. Light the fireworks! Raise a toast! This is a big deal for a startup.
This is a big deal for you, too; nonprofit local news can indeed change your life for the better.
- Democracy has no stronger ally than the free press.
- Information — factual, true information — is powerful.
We are fortunate to have some reliable local news produced in our three-county area … but coverage has drastically decreased here, just as elsewhere, over the past few decades. There are gaps to fill, notable gaps that leave residents with insufficient information to hold government and others in power accountable. Much information on the internet is written with a particular slant and lacks context and balance.
‘Local’ means serving us
Local news outlets personalize national and global trends or events— such as the COVID-19 pandemic — with immediately useful, potentially life-saving information.
As members of their communities, local news media — reporters and editors who live here — have the best connections and the best opportunity to check in with all facets of the community. No voices need to go unheard.
Research from the Brookings Institution and elsewhere shows that voters in communities without local news tend to be polarized around party lines and partisan politics … not an effective way to solve the problems of our complex world.
‘Such important info’
Comments from readers tell us we’re on the right track and providing a needed public service:
- Happy to have this independent news source!” — from Whatcom County, following our article “North Fork Nooksack Forest project: thinning for habitat or harvesting for profit?“
- “This is all such important info to get out.” – from San Juan Island, re “Masked young adults key to beating COVID in the long term“
- “I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this copy of Salish Current … I was able to listen to the committee of the whole discuss the issue of public comment followed by further explanation … and the questions asked by the city council members. It was enlightening for all. You made it very easy to listen to by listing all the committee meetings.” — from Bellingham, calling out our weekly newsletters with links to city and county government meetings and agendas.
- “Thank you very much for writing this article. This is a very serious issue that needs much more attention.” — from Lopez Island, in response to “San Juan school districts face big budget shortfalls due to levy cap“
- “I enjoyed this morning’s wrap-up and the piece on schools.” — from Whatcom County, calling out “Back to learning, back to school to happen in the shadow of COVID-19“
- “The access to the voter forums is a great help.” — from Bellingham, re links to videos of candidate forums for Whatcom, San Juan and Skagit county offices in “Ballots in the mail July 15, primary vote Aug. 4“
Among our most-read articles, pieces on Nooksack River water rights, changing demographics in the 42nd Legislative District, and increased protection from oil spills in the Salish Sea have concerned topics not covered at this level in other local media.
The shared vision
During the past year, supported by dedicated board members, wise community advisors, and generous donations from individuals and other charitable funds, Salish Current has produced nearly 100 original news articles and posted around three dozen Community Voices essays and editorials, to stimulate civil discourse.
Access to all our content is and always will be free of charge, as a public service. But it does cost money to produce. As a startup, we run lean, paying our professional freelance reporters while our editors work for free, as volunteers.
The money we raise does not go into the bank accounts of for-profit companies either inside or outside our three-county area — or even out of the country. It goes into Salish Current’s nonprofit bank account, to be used toward realizing the vision shared among Salish Current founders and supporters: a sustainable nonprofit local news source with full-time editorial and other staff. Of course, getting there depends on continued donor support … which in turn depends on how well we do our jobs.
Along with news, Salish Current provides a public forum through Community Voices essays and letters to the editor to stimulate fact-based discussion in our community. We welcome letters to the editor responding to or amplifying subjects addressed in Community Voices and our editorials — including this one. (Email your Community Voices subject proposal to Managing Editor Mike Sato (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will respond with guidelines.)
It’s been a wild ride this year for us all. Thanks for taking a moment to celebrate Salish Current — and nonprofit local news — with us … and be sure to take a look at this week’s posts!
— Commentary by Amy Nelson
We welcome letters to the editor responding to or amplifying subjects addressed in the Salish Current. If you wish to contribute to Community Voices, please send an email with a subject proposal to Managing Editor Mike Sato (email@example.com) and he will respond with guidelines.