To Our Readers,
They say that old friends are the best friends.
Old friends have your back when the going gets tough. They help you carry on when you’re not strong.
After serving Woodstock and its surrounding towns for 168 years, you could say that the Standard and this community go way back. We hope we’ve made some friends along the way, and this month we’re leaning on our friends, both old and new, as we launch our first Annual Appeal fundraising effort.
We sincerely thank you for reading the Vermont Standard. Striving to produce a quality local news report that keeps you informed and engaged in our community is a critically important mission, and we’re quite honored to be entrusted with that assignment.
As we explained in the article that appeared in this space last week, we urgently need your support to help us bridge the gap between our declining advertising revenue and the expenses required to produce the local journalism that you need, want and deserve.
The Standard serves an important purpose in the communities that comprise our primary circulation area – Woodstock, Pomfret, Barnard, Reading, Quechee, Hartland, West Windsor, Bridgewater, and Plymouth.
We report on the work of our town governments so that residents can be informed voters and the decisions made that affect everyone are made with transparency. We report on our schools so that you’ll know how your tax dollars are being spent and about all the wonderful happenings in the classroom. We recognize the outstanding achievements of local youth in their academic pursuits, community service, athletics, on the theater stage, and in other extracurriculars. We report on local organizations so you’ll know about the many worthwhile causes and actions underway with which you may wish to get involved.
We report on crimes and court cases and other troublesome matters in our area in an effort to promote awareness, safety and justice. We offer analysis and opinions on issues the community is wrestling with, which we hope provide insight that helps readers understand and reach their own conclusions. We recognize and celebrate the intriguing, inspiring, and sometimes even heroic characters who are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things in our midst. We document the milestones, celebrations, and rites of passage that occur in the lives of local residents.
And, of course, we report on local entertainment, events and activities, so you’ll know about all there is to do around here.
Similar to how a university or church, or library or theater is valued in ours or any community, the Vermont Standard is a treasured institution around here. It’s part of the glue that defines and holds this community together. As with those other types of local institutions, it’s ultimately up to the residents and businesses in the area to financially support the Standard if it’s to avoid falling into decay, or worse.
There are hundreds of towns across our country that have lost their newspapers recently or seen them greatly diminished. When that happens, part of the spirit and soul of the community dies. The sense of unity and connectedness that comes from everyone sharing the same stories, a common set of facts and a common understanding, is lost. A local unifying force is lost — giving way to isolation, divisiveness, and the spread of misinformation. In towns that lose their paper, civic engagement also declines.
The communities we serve have a pretty good thing going with the Standard. It’s an honest and authentic local news source, produced by a small group of hard-working, sincere people who are committed to doing the right thing.
We don’t have to be the next town on the map that operates with a greatly diminished “ghost newspaper” or no newspaper at all. If we all chip in, we can keep this going and ultimately have an even better, stronger, built-for-today’s-media-landscape local news operation that the Standard is working behind the scenes to build. But we need to act now, before time runs out.
We plan to appeal to you only once a year so that you won’t be bothered and we can focus primarily on the news coverage we’re trying to provide, rather than on our own survival. Going forward, each year when our Annual Appeal comes around, we intend to make it a community-wide reader appreciation event, where we can all get together for a celebration of the role local journalism plays in our beautiful community. Stay tuned for information on that next summer.
Our need is urgent, so please don’t delay. If you’re able, simply send us a check at PO Box 88, Woodstock, VT 05091 or go on our Vermont Standard THIS WEEK website at www.thevermontstandard.com to make an Annual Appeal contribution with your credit card. We gratefully welcome any and all contributions from individuals, families, businesses and organizations. Unfortunately, since we are not classified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit you don’t get a tax deduction for your gift; just the reassurance that we’ll use it to do our best to ensure that this community has quality local journalism for many years to come.
Thank you again for your readership and your friendship. We are staying strong, as we did when we weathered a devastating flood and a fire in recent years, and, of course, the pandemic of last year. As always, we believe the glass is still half full!
And we’re pretty sure we’ll get by with a little help from our friends.
Phil Camp, president
Dan Cotter, publisher