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Today, you received a free sample edition of the Monte Vista Journal. For some of you this may be the first time you have held the Journal in your hands. Please take some time to read it.

Where else are you going to read stories and see photos from the Monte Vista High School graduation, Gov. Jared Polis visiting the San Luis Valley, or the Trinidad State Junior College Law Enforcement Academy graduation? And that’s just from this past week.

This is our attempt to get you to take the next step and become a subscriber. We need you to take this step.  

To all our current subscribers, we thank you for seeing the value in a hyper-local newspaper.

Local newspapers care — always have and always will. It’s what sets us apart from all other media, even Facebook. We will be at the zoning board meeting you care about, at your Fourth of July parade and your high school graduation. We will write about the kindergarten class trip to the potato farm as well as the school budget, food banks for the hungry.

We’ve been around so long it’s easy to take us for granted.

What we have learned from communities with local newspapers is that more people vote. Citizens understand why the school district cut course offerings. They know more about who is running for office. The stories we publish create a common bond to get things done in the community.

With your help we have ability to hold appointed and elected public officials accountable. At many of the public meetings we cover, we are the only citizen in the room. We represent the people of our community. We are your watchdog.

What we have learned from more than 20 years with the internet is that for most community newspapers, its promise was a mirage. We don’t have the population to sustain us on the internet. For most small-town newspapers, digital payments represent 0 to 5% of their income.

Much of rural America isn’t media rich. If there are radio stations, they often get their news from the local newspaper. There are no television stations that cover local news; no internet news companies. There is only the community newspaper — unless you believe the bitter debates, conjecture and outright misinformation on social media count as news.

News isn’t free. It’s costly to produce. Reporters, photographers, editors, printers, advertising representatives and support staff deserve and need a paycheck for the work they do. To do that, newspapers need you to take the next step.

— Brian Williams, General Manager-Editor

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