hardwick media co. is an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) public benefit nonprofit corporation, and donations are tax-deductible. Our mission is to inform the Hardwick area (in the future to include Wolcott, Craftsbury, and Greensboro) public of current news and events, keep them apprised of things that might impact their daily lives, and provide opportunities for residents, especially for Hardwick’s kids. We promise to operate in full daylight with transparency and deliver news in an unbiased and reliable fashion. Especially in this age, there is no place for conflicts of interest or biased reporting — facts are facts, though those facts may impact different people in different ways. hardwick media co. aims to gain enough public awareness to set a standard for transparency and professionalism that could set a standard for Hardwick’s taxpayer-funded entities.
This website, hardwick.media, is the first initiative of the nonprofit.
hardwick media co. recognizes that accessing information via the internet is a challenge for some residents. We will in the future seek to overcome this challenge with a print version of the newspaper which we hope to increase distribution from a few initial sites to as many locations as possible. The biggest challenge to producing a print version is cost. Only with sponsors’ funding will the entity be able to sustain a printed version of the weekly news, and in order to secure that, we would need commitments sufficient to fund the weekly print operation for the initial year which is estimated to be in the range of $45,000 – $50,000 annually.
FUNDING AND PRINCIPLES
Truly resurrecting local news to the level of 1920 may prove impossible, but that is a good target. It will require considerable funding to realize the closest approximation to that, but the benefit to the community will be that relevant local news still exists. While online-focused, the structure does hope that funding is enough to publish a limited print edition to address a key concern.
The online edition will depend heavily on smaller sponsorships to pay for the technical costs of hosting the website as well as time spent by reporters on their work. We aim to field diverse perspectives and with funding provide those reporters a living wage. We also aim to nurture younger people interested in journalism in their endeavors and will offer opportunities for them to report on matters they find significant. hardwick dot media will never offer an unpaid internship.
The nonprofit will actively work to find opportunities for the business to fund extracurricular or other educational opportunities for kids that might otherwise not have been available. This is in recognition that our community’s kids are the future of the community, and we hope to again set a higher standard for participation in the opportunities given to kids.
The initial phase of seeking sponsorships will be intensive. It remains unclear if the demand for a printed newspaper is sufficient to fund that avenue. What is very clear is that the town of Hardwick and its surrounding towns will lose out on valuable reporting information absent a locally owned and operated business ensuring that they receive it.
TARGET AUDIENCES, DIFFERENTIATION
Currently, three important audiences are not being given the most relevant access to information about their community that impacts them. Older residents who may not be as comfortable with getting news online are resistant to change; a printed newspaper would serve them if it is financially viable. The main demographic according to the U.S. census, 35-45, is not receiving the focused news that would most interest them. And, the younger set, high school students, is not receiving any information that is not sports-related that may be of interest to them.
If it can be funded a print version addresses the first concern. The second concern of actively targeting the largest demographic will be addressed by hiring reporters that are diverse, of that demographic, and engaged, which is also a part of the third concern. Working with the community organizations and schools to promote journalistic endeavors will increase engagement for the youngest set of the target audience.
Beyond that, we also will aim to create engagement through critical reviews of things that are in the public dialog such as movies, music, and Netflix shows.
It has never been explored just how much engagement a younger demographic would have with either a print or web version if it interested them. The anticipation is the first year would be exploratory and interactive, learning what readers want, and developing the media outlet’s structure from there. The realistic expectation is that the business will only receive feedback if it does something people do not want. The hope is that by combining a wide array of viewpoints and providing perspectives hardwick.media will usher in a new era for local news in the area.