Like all media, Prairie Dog struggles. But hey! You can help!

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

Have you noticed? The media is in total crisis. Especially print media. Even us! Yikes!

Don’t worry, we have a plan. But before I get to that, let’s review the situation.

The main problem: advertising revenues are down. Way down. National print ads are toast (the agency that represented Prairie Dog, for example, folded about seven years ago). On top of that, media outlets must now compete with cheap, if questionably effective, advertising on U.S.-based social media sites that, obviously, don’t put their money into local reporters. Nope, they grab the cash and dash.

Tough times. One consequence is that more and more talented reporters are getting layoff notices and buyout offers. The lucky ones get picked up by CBC (which is cool because CBC is great), but the fact remains there are still fewer journalists covering the stories that matter to this place.

In fact, the paper you’re holding laid off its Saskatoon editor in 2015.

We’ve had to cut back on local coverage, too.

This isn’t fun for us, believe me. I wouldn’t put us on the red list, but if Prairie Dog was a wild animal, CITES might classify us as “threatened”.

Ultimately, this isn’t good for anyone. It isn’t good for Reginans, who need factual information to understand and participate in the city, province and world they live in. It isn’t good for local artists, authors and musicians, who can (and do) use Prairie Dog coverage to leverage national attention, as well as for support material in grant applications. And it obviously isn’t good for trained, professional journalists, who, like most people, can’t work for free.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Fortunately, and like I said, we have a plan. A cunning plan.

Starting March 23, we’re turning to you, our loyal readers, to join us on this crazy alternative media mission. For the first time ever, we’re asking our awesome readers to directly support Prairie Dog through our new subscription initiative.

Think of it like crowdfunding, except you get a newspaper and other cool stuff mailed to you!

To be clear, you’ll still be able to pick us up for free. We will always be free. But by subscribing to Prairie Dog, you’ll be supporting a unique, locally owned media outlet that’s covered this city and province for more than two decades. Your subscription will let us keep working with the best writers we can find. Even better: you’ll never miss an issue of what Monocle magazine calls our “sharp, local reporting”!

Perhaps best of all, you get fantastic perks for signing up!

Subscribing to Prairie Dog is the best way to directly support this sharp, playful, left-of-centre newspaper that, occasional malfunctions aside, has been Regina’s most reliable source of progressive perspectives on critical issues such as poverty, affordable housing, privatization, student debt, climate change and, more recently, the rise of far-right radicalism.

These are tough times. And in tough times, people need to stick together. With your help, Prairie Dog will remain a unique part of Saskatchewan’s political, social and cultural dialogue for years to come. So head to our website, pick your perks, and subscribe to Prairie Dog!

This is a great conversation we’ve got going. Together, we can make sure it continues!

Subscriptions begin March 23.