Square Beacon Benchmark | January 2020 a small step towards proof: Readers will support handcrafted local news

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A pint of Theorem beer from Function Brewing on 6th Street, just east of the square in downtown Bloomington, Indiana.

Fair warning: This is a pitch to support The Square Beacon with a monthly pledge. If you’ve been meaning to pledge, but just haven’t gotten around to it, please choose this moment to do it: Subscribe now! Thank you to everyone who has already pledged. 

I live in downtown Bloomington, upstairs from a place called Function Brewing—where the names of the handcrafted beer all have mathematical themes. My favorite is called Theorem, and it’s the one I always order. Every time.

Why? As I tell any new server at Function, it’s because I want to have something to prove. (Hilarity always ensues, because it’s a great joke, and I will fight anybody who says different.)

I invested the second half of last year reporting for The Square Beacon, as a way to prove something—that area residents are thirsty for a thorough and thoughtful approach to writing local government news. Based on feedback from random strangers, I’m checking that box as QED.

So I hard-launched this website on Jan. 1, 2020—with something more to prove.

I think the kind of reporting The Square Beacon does on local government in Bloomington and Monroe County can be supported 100 percent by readers like you. In fact, I think a publication like The Square Beacon could expand to include a whole newsroom full of journalists like me, just with support from readers.

For a more details, please have a look at the full-length pitch on Patreon.

If you’re wondering who I am and where I came from, I hope this column from last June will help fill in some gaps: Square Beacon Benchmark: What is this place?

I will pour myself full-time into The Square Beacon for a year—through the end of 2020—no matter what. But to continue longer than that, and to expand, this enterprise has to pay some bills. I’ve set a monthly fund-raising goal of $3,333. That translates to $40,000 in annual revenue, out of which I have maybe $5,000 worth of overhead to cover, leaving $35,000 annually for my livelihood.

To be clear, the goal is not to raise $40,000 in 2020. The goal is to achieve monthly pledges by the end of 2020 totaling $3,333, which would translate to $40,000 for the year in 2021.

I’m encouraged by the intitial support. Thank you to everyone who’s already stepped up to help prove a simple idea about funding local journalism! One month in, we’re better than 10 percent of the way towards the goal. If we maintain this same pace we’ll hit the target sometime in November.

I’d sure like to hit that target way sooner, so that I can focus on reporting and writing news, instead of writing fundraising pitches like this one. Please visit Patreon right now, and consider pledging $5, $10, or $15 a month. Thank you!

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