For the past 12 years, we have delivered Vero Beach 32963 free each Thursday to every home on the barrier island, relying exclusively on the support of our loyal advertisers to pay the bills.
Over that time, we have become the island’s indispensable news source. Our professional team of reporters, photographers and editors has provided you with comprehensive news coverage of our special community – each week delivering stories you would never have read elsewhere.
That business model worked fine until this past March.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to much of the business activity in Vero, we saw a falloff in advertising that quite frankly was terrifying. Many businesses had to shut down due to stay-at-home orders. Merchants who had been advertising with us every week for more than a decade abruptly pulled out.
During what customarily was the peak of our busy season – the spring weeks when we would try to put a little money aside to carry us through the slower summer – we suddenly were finding it hard to keep up with expenses.
April was really bad. May was little better.
Meanwhile, our journalists were working day and night to obtain information about how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected our community. We were the first to tell readers about the lack of testing in Indian River County, first to report coronavirus deaths on the barrier island, first to report on the spread of the virus in Vero senior care facilities.
It’s been tough enough to ferret out these stories with our overworked staff. But will our newspaper still be able to dig out the local information that is critical to you if we have to cut back.
What do June, July and August hold? We worry – not only about what the pandemic is going to bring, but about the future of Vero Beach 32963.
If we are to continue to play the role of the watchdog that is otherwise missing from our community, we need your help.
As I was writing this, I received a new ad cancellation from an island business that placed more than $40,000 in advertising in Vero Beach 32963 in 2019.
We are hoping to raise $170,000 to keep our reporters digging for information on your behalf, our photographers capturing the images and our editors fine-tuning the work to deliver essential news and information to you.
Your gift will go directly to our newsroom ensuring sustainability for Vero Beach 32963 and continued accountability reporting as we navigate this critical time. If by some stroke of good fortune we raise more than $170,000, we will add to our coronavirus reporting team.
If you really view Vero Beach 32963 as your paper, please make a contribution to the “32963 COVID-19 Emergency Fund.” You can either send a check to Vero Beach 32963 Media at P.O. Box 1396, Vero Beach, 32960; call our accounting office at 772-226-7925 to make a donation by credit card; or call me directly at 772-559-4187.
This contribution is NOT tax deductible. But your donation will help us continue to provide in-depth, independent reporting as we navigate through our community’s recovery from this global pandemic.
Thank you so much for making your barrier island newsweekly My32963.
Milton R. Benjamin