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Last year at this time, the future of LebTown was uncertain, and we began 2022 with a month-long hiatus, but thanks to a wave of community goodwill and support, we quickly resumed publishing.
Over 2022, readers visited LebTown.com more than 3.25 million times to read the approximately 1,250 articles our newsroom team published last year. It’s clear from the data that Lebanon County readers greatly value LebTown’s original reporting and investigations, as well as its community coverage and features.
Free news isn’t cheap, and LebTown’s advertisers and members make our work possible. I have immense gratitude for everyone who’s already supported LebTown, whether that’s by being a member, donating to the Civic Impact Reporting Project, advertising with LebTown, or simply reading and sharing our articles.
The year ended better than it began, and yet there’s so much more work to do. LebTown is just scratching the surface on what our coverage could be. Today I want to talk about what’s next for LebTown. Today I want to begin a multi-month community conversation that I’m calling LebTown’s Countywide Campaign.
LebTown’s Countywide Campaign is an ambitious drive to reach 1,000 active members by the time LebTown’s fifth birthday rolls around in April. Right now, we have just over 400 active members who support our work on a monthly or annual basis. To reach our goal, we’ll need to add more than 100 members a month. That might seem like a lot, but it’s just 5% of our 10,000+ Facebook followers or 10% of our 5,000+ newsletter readers.
If you’re not a member, the easiest and quickest thing you can do is signup here for a monthly membership.
(If you’re already a member, THANK YOU! I’m excited to announce there are several new member benefits waiting for you this morning, including the ability to read and comment on articles, access exclusive merchandise from our online store, or join our private Discord community through your account settings. We have additionally added options for members to receive three new types of email alerts: daily headlines emails, weekly obituaries emails, and breaking news email alerts. We are also extremely overdue for some member events; expect news on that front in the near future. Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Countywide Campaign is not just about drumming up support. It’s also about reintroducing ourselves to the Lebanon community.
Over the coming months, LebTown will be explaining itself to the community. Who we are. What we do. How we work. What values we hold.
You’ll also be hearing from our newsroom directly, as our journalists introduce themselves to you and solicit your support for their essential work.
Over the course of the Countywide Campaign, I and other members of the newsroom hope to visit civic groups and retirement communities to share our story in person. (To request a LebTown reporter visit for your organization or community, please complete the online interest form here.)
If you’re already a member, or if you prefer one-time contributions, there are other ways to support LebTown.
We recently added the ability to gift an annual membership. This might be perfect for the recent grad in your life looking to stay connected to their hometown. Select the “Is this a gift?” option when purchasing an annual membership and you’ll be able to send your gift recipient an email and link to redeem the gift after purchase. Through the end of the month, we will be sending a $10 LebTown store coupon to anyone who redeems a gift membership.
For a quick and simple one-time contribution, head here. (Please note that one-time contributions are not eligible for member benefits.)
For a tax-deductible gift, keep on reading.
Last year, LebTown launched the Civic Impact Reporting Project, a donor-funded effort to radically expand coverage of Lebanon County municipal meetings. In 2022, the first Civic Impact Reporting Project raised more than $10,000 from over 100 donors, a heroic feat of generosity by our community that made possible LebTown reporter Emily Bixler’s coverage of Cornwall Borough, South Londonderry Township, and North Lebanon Township.
We are again partnering with the Local Media Foundation on the 2023 Civic Impact Reporting Project. Your donations to this program jointly run with the Local Media Foundation will directly fund coverage of local municipal meetings to keep Lebanon Countians informed and engaged with their local government. You can donate online here through our platform partner, GiveButter, or text (202) 858-1233 to donate using code LEBTOWN.
Become a donor and you’ll be able to provide your vote on which municipalities we prioritize for expanded coverage.
You can also mail checks directly to the Local Media Foundation at the following address.
Local Media Foundation
P.O. Box 85015
Chicago, IL 60689-5033
If you mail a check, please include LebTown Civic Impact Reporting Project in the memo line. Additionally, please include a note with a mailing address or email address indicating where the receipt should be sent.
All donations to Local Media Foundation for this project are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. No goods or services will be provided in exchange for contributions, and you are encouraged to consult a tax adviser for further details on how tax-deductible donations work. The program will be administered by Local Media Foundation, tax ID #36‐4427750, a Section 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with Local Media Association, and a letter certifying our fiscal sponsorship with the Local Media Foundation for this project is available on request.
Lastly, we have recently completed an overhaul to our advertising systems with our partners at Broadstreet Ads, and I’m looking forward to increased collaborations with local businesses and marketers this year. I believe that high-quality local advertising is an essential part of the local news experience (watch for a future editorial on our “Champion Local” value which explains this more). Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.
We’ve got a couple other ideas in the works for this campaign, including how we’ll celebrate LebTown’s fifth birthday together, but that covers the big stuff for now.
As we kickoff LebTown’s Countywide Campaign today, you can expect to hear from me regularly. Coming up next week I will share a column on LebTown’s core value – Optimize for Trust. We sincerely appreciate your consideration of supporting LebTown in whatever way makes sense for you. It makes an impact for us.
READ WHY LEBTOWN OPTIMIZES FOR TRUST HERE
With feedback, suggestions, or ideas, you can reach me using the contact form at the bottom of this article or by shooting an email to email@example.com.
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Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using the contact form below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.