A note from the publisher: The ‘RN&R’ is celebrating our 30th birthday—but we need your help to reach 31

Our December print edition marks one of the biggest accomplishments of my career—guiding the RN&R back into print and to its 30th birthday. However, my euphoria over this incredible milestone is tempered by realization that things will need to change in order for the RN&R to reach its 31st birthday, at least in its current form. 

This time last year, I was quite optimistic about the RN&R’s future. We’d published seven great editions since our return to print. We were more or less breaking even on the financial side, thanks to just-enough advertisers, both new and returning, and increasing levels of reader support. Other potential advertisers were expressing interest in the RN&R, and saying they hoped they could return to our pages in their next budget cycles. 

Today, I am far less optimistic. In fact, I am worried. While reader support continues to grow, advertising revenue has actually decreased a bit, while our expenses continue to rise. The vast majority of those would-be advertisers didn’t find room for us in their next budget cycles—even though our circulation and readership are unparalleled in Northern Nevada, and we’ve worked to keep our rates as low and business-friendly as possible. 

To be blunt, I am losing faith that we can get the advertising we need to continue in print, and to keep our current levels of content and coverage. However, we’re not giving up—and here’s what we’re going to do to keep the RN&R going strong. 

First off, we’re going to go into 2024 with a stronger, renewed and refocused advertising push. We’re beefing up our digital offerings, and I’m going to do everything I can to let businesses and organizations in this area know how great of an advertising option the RN&R is, both in print and online.  

Second: I’ve used a great deal of ink in this space discussing our move to become a nonprofit. While I’ve been working on this behind the scenes, it’s been slow-going, because the day-to-day operation of the newspaper has come first. But that’s changing now, and we’re going to start our big organizational push in January. 

But in order for this all to work, we are going to need your help. 

On the ad side: If you own a business that may benefit from being an RN&R advertiser, please reach out and advertise. If you work for a business, encourage the decision-makers to advertise. If you’re a customer of a business, tell them you’d love to see them advertise in the RN&R

On the nonprofit side: If you want to assist us, please let me know; my email is [email protected]. (To those of you who have already contacted me: I’ll be in touch very soon.) Sometime in early January, we’ll have a meeting for anyone and everyone who is interested in helping the RN&R; watch our website, social media and January print edition for details. 

The brightest version of the RN&R’s future does not include being owned by any company or individual, myself included; it involves being owned by the community that’s known and loved the publication for 30 years, protecting it and empowering it. Under community/nonprofit ownership, the RN&R can attract revenue streams we don’t currently have, including grants and tax-deductible donations, while continuing to earn revenue from advertising and membership/subscriptions. 

The amount of money it takes to publish the Reno News & Review, as it stands now, is tiny, as far as nonprofits go; it’d take around $250,000 a year, give or take. While we haven’t been able to earn that much revenue as a for-profit, the amount should be quite achievable for a nonprofit, community-owned RN&R—and if we could raise even more money, we could hire yet more journalists and strengthen our coverage of the community. 

I never intended on being the owner of the Reno News & Review—but being the owner and publisher for the last two years has been the honor of a lifetime. I was nearly in tears reading over our 30th anniversary package. But it’s becoming increasingly apparent the RN&R has gone as far as it can as an independent, for-profit news source—and for it to survive, the community is going to need to step up.