EDITORIAL: You have questions. We have answers.

A few weeks ago, Marblehead’s only non-profit newspaper rebranded as the Marblehead Current, rolling out a fresh, distinctive look across our website, social media presence and every other point at which we reach Marbleheaders. Today, we add to the family our first weekly print edition. In so doing, we join the ranks of only a handful of papers that have served this town throughout our history. Welcome to a proud Marblehead journalistic tradition, Marblehead Current!

We’re thrilled with the reception and enthusiasm we’ve gotten from the community, and wanted to take the opportunity to answer some of the most common questions we’ve been hearing.

Question 1: Is this the paper we have already been getting in the mail?
No, that’s the Marblehead Weekly News, a product of Essex Media Group, which also publishes the Lynn Item among other properties.

Question 2: Why does Marblehead need “another” news source?
None of us wants to see our local paper rise and fall again. We have watched for-profit papers struggle to survive, even right here in town, while non-profit models are gaining traction across the country. We see people wanting reliable news from reporters they trust who are working within organizations built to stand the test of time. We believe that our experience matters — that the five decades of Marblehead-specific reporting within our veteran newsroom lends valuable context, familiarity and reliability to readers. As a nonprofit paper, we consider ourselves a public service: a tool to allow community connection and engagement. And finally (but perhaps most importantly) we don’t have a “parent” or media owner, which means that our editors enjoy true independence, free of influence. 

Question 3: The Current could have just stayed as an online news source. Why are you adding a print edition?
Call us old-fashioned, but having an actual printed newspaper, which can be read over coffee, and saved when a special event or person is covered, is important. Thoughtful modern news outlets serve readers across channels, offering choice in how you engage. The best ones build organizations in which the digital complements the print and vice versa. Starting today, we have the flexibility to share stories quickly (sometimes even in real time) in digital formats while maintaining the beloved tradition of print, and you have the choice, at any given moment, of how you’d like to consume the news.

Question 4: How does the nonprofit model work?
As a non-profit, we can invest all our financial resources in the mission of bringing you trusted news. We are part of a growing trend around the country to adopt a funding model for local newspapers consisting of tax-deductible donations, foundation support, advertising and sponsorships that is proving more sustainable than the old for-profit model.
It’s pretty simple. Like NPR’s community of listeners, our community of readers donates what they can, when they can. The money we raise through these tax-deductible donations plus advertising, sponsorships, and foundation grants goes directly to the operations of the organization, paying our staff and production costs. Our board of directors — a dedicated team who, according to our by-laws, must reside in town — are fully volunteer. In alignment with the values of the Institute for Nonprofit News, the trusted organization of which we are a member, we are clear that donor support does not translate into influence over the stories we choose to write or the way in which we write them. 

Question 5: How did the idea for a non-profit newspaper in Marblehead come about?
When Gannett bought the Marblehead Reporter in 2019 and subsequently reduced staff and local coverage, a group of former Reporter editors and journalists got together and decided to form a 501(c)(3) and build support in the community for launching the Current. Our tagline is “News for people, not for profit” to reflect our dedication to Marbleheaders instead of to the profit margins that levied such pressure in our former workplaces.

Question 6: Will the Current endorse local candidates?
No. As a 501(c)(3), under the Internal Revenue Code, we cannot by law support or oppose candidates for elected public office.

Question 7: Do you accept submissions from readers?
Yes! You can read all about this at www.marbleheadcurrent.org/submissions. We welcome your life event notices, too: weddings, births, accomplishments and obituaries and we won’t charge a mint for publishing. (And while we’ve got you: we love and depend on volunteers. Drop us a line at info@marbleheadnews.org if you would like to participate!) 

Question 8: How can I support Marblehead Current? 
We’re glad you asked. Through Dec. 31, 2022, we’re participating in NewsMatch, an Institute for Non-profit News (INN) initiative to financially support and sustain non-profit community journalism. Any individual donation made through the end of year will be matched dollar-for-dollar by INN up to $1,000 — and recurring donations will be matched 12 times. Our goal is to collect $15,000 and raise a total of $30,000 with the match. Please visit www.marbleheadcurrent.org/donate for all the details.

It has been a whirlwind of a beginning in the very best way. We are deeply grateful for the welcome and support we have received.  We wish you and your families a wonderful holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving Marblehead!

Marblehead Current staff
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