As most of you probably know, Old Mission Gazette is a reader-supported newspaper. That means that most of our revenue to keep this website running comes through donations from you – our readers.
When I started the Gazette six years ago, I intended to run it as a traditional newspaper model, with most of the revenue generated through advertising sales. In my 40+ years of making a living as a journalist, that’s how most of the newspapers and magazines that I’ve written for have operated.
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But the times they are a-changin’, and that particular newspaper model is getting tougher in a world where digital news is available 24/7, and social media gives everyone the opportunity to promote their own business.
Not only that, but I realized a few things in those first years of starting the Gazette. First, I’m not a sales person. More than that, I’m not an advertising sales person. I’m not wired that way, and even with my best internal cheerleading, I will never be wired that way.
Second, there are only so many hours in the day, and writing stories, taking and editing photos, and keeping the website up to speed takes up most of those hours. I AM wired for all those things. I love all those things. In fact, I’m pretty much obsessed with all those things. Everything I encounter every day is a story. That’s just how I’m wired.
And third, I’ve learned from you, dear readers, that you appreciate that the Gazette website and email newsletter isn’t overwhelmed with ads. Don’t get me wrong. I love my longtime advertisers, most of whom have been with me since the beginnings of the Gazette.
But because we limit the number of advertisers, I’m able to promote them in a meaningful way – writing stories about what’s on their farm stand or in their flower garden, how their family is connected to the Old Mission Peninsula, and how their kindness and dedication to our community is everything. (We do have an advertiser waiting list, so feel free to email me if you’d like to get on it).
With all that said about why we’re set up as a reader-supported newspaper, a heartfelt THANK-YOU to everyone who supports the Gazette by sending checks in the mail (12875 Bluff Road), using our online donation option, and sending us recurring donations each month.
Click here to help support the Gazette in whatever way works for you. Someone recently asked if we have a Venmo option, so I just added that not too long ago.
We are forever grateful and appreciative of your support, and very honored to be able to publish news, history, photos and everything under the sun about the Old Mission Peninsula.
About That Funeral Book
As for how Old Mission Gazette started as a funeral book … here’s the story … for the past 18 years, I’ve been part of an online group of writers who support each other, offer advice on all things writing and life, and just generally lift each other up as we navigate through the world as journalists.
Somewhere along the way, I started to write notes to the group about Old Mission Peninsula people who’ve passed – about their lives, how they helped shape me as a person, and about their funerals.
How Ed and Jo Brown were not only lifelong friends, but gave us the opportunity to buy their land where we’ve raised our kids – a gift we’re thankful for every single day. How Dan Fouch’s eulogy at his mom Ann’s funeral had the whole church in joyful laughter – just how Ann would have liked it.
And how when Thelma Crawford’s memory started to fail, she mapped out her life on paper, sorting it into three eras: 1923 to 1940, 1940 to 1970, and 1970 and beyond. At her funeral, her son read some of the snippets that she’d written down, things like “got a toilet for Christmas,” “1930s, Depression, hard,” and “Joined the Women’s Club, Rebecca.” Small phrases with so much about life in them.
My friend Rachel once noted in our writer’s group, “Every time Jane writes about a funeral, I see the community surrounding the people.” Maybe that’s true for most small communities where everyone knows and supports each other, and that’s especially true for the Old Mission Peninsula community. Even though we may not know ALL of our neighbors like back in the old days when I was a kid, we still support each other through thick and thin.
An idea started to form in my writer’s group about me writing what we called “The Funeral Book,” chronicling the lives of all these beloved Old Mission Peninsula friends. Not a sad book, but a joyous celebration of their lives.
Maybe I’ll get around to writing that book at some point, but until then, Old Mission Gazette IS that book, in my mind. A rolling festival of stories posted every day about the people who live and work in our community.
Thank you for giving me that opportunity every day here on Old Mission Gazette.