From the Publisher’s Desk: No exit strategy here

Teresa Wippel
Teresa Wippel

Last week, an acquaintance of mine from North Carolina, publisher of two online community news sites there, surprised the online publishing community when he announced that, after nine years, he was ceasing publication, effective immediately.

After reading David Boraks’ farewell message, I have to say that his reasons for leaving weren’t at all surprising. In fact, they were very familiar. Here’s an excerpt:

Over the past 9 years, we’ve taken a crazy idea – covering our small towns daily on the web – and turned it into a widely-read, much-loved and often-quoted news source that readers tell us they find indispensable. Alas, we haven’t turned it into a sustainable business: We’re in debt, we’re exhausted, and it’s time to go.

I know, both from surveys we’ve conducted and anecdotally, that our readers also find us indispensable for the wide range of coverage that we provide, from same-day reports of city council meetings, to school board reports, to breaking police and fire news, to arts and entertainment — and much more.  They rely on us as a place where they can discuss the issues of the day, chuckle at a funny comment or be wowed by a glorious scenic photo.

It’s a common refrain among many of my peers, that while publishing online community news is very rewarding, it’s also draining — both mentally and financially. Of the dozens of online news sites that sprung up in the late 2000s in the Seattle area alone, only a few retain their original owners and exhibit some sense of financial solvency.

Yet, I think I can speak for all of us who are left standing that we are deeply passionate about the communities we cover and also truly enjoy what we do. I know that is what keeps me going on those days when I am trying to juggle multiple breaking news stories along with business development, marketing and technical maintenance — and still have a life.

I am forever grateful to our skilled freelance writers and photographers, along with our sales, promotion and technical wizards, who help us produce our daily (and sometimes hourly) product. And I am heartened by the support of our valued advertisers, along with our growing list of regular subscribers, who have signed up to support us with a monthly or one-time voluntary subscription. Please be assured that all advertising and subscription dollars help support the community journalism we are proud to provide each day.

I remember attending a business development workshop for online publishers shortly after I launched My Edmonds News five years ago, and one of the very practical business questions asked of all of us in the room was, “Do you have an exit strategy?”

An exit strategy? What exactly does that look like when you are tightly woven into the fabric of the community? How do you disengage from something you care about so deeply?

For my friend David Boraks, the answer was to shut down — effective immediately.

I have no exit strategy. I love my community. I love my job. Instead, I have an asking strategy — I will continue to ask each of you regularly for your support. Own a business? Even if you don’t have the budget to advertise, you can subscribe. Read us regularly? One of our subscribers noted that she pays $3 a day for her latte, and decided that she could indeed afford $20 a month for My Edmonds News. Any amount is welcome and appreciated.

Have you subscribed yet?

Until next time.

Teresa Wippel



  1. I wonder sometimes how many of the very frequent commentators on this site subscribe to My Edmonds News. I also sometimes wonder how long Teresa can hold on to this online publication with her existing business model. It does look, though, like her frequent requests for more subscribers and advertisers have resulted in a slight increase in revenues, but apparently not enough.

    Based on my interpretation of her latest “From the Publishers Desk”, and what occurred in North Carolina, I sense that Teresa is sending her readership a strong message.

    It amazes me that at least half of the respondents to her survey awhile ago indicated that they would not contribute to her newspaper. Why? Because a minimum request of $3 a month is too expensive? Or, because those who refuse to subscribe are somehow philosophically opposed to subscribing – or believe that it should be free? In my opinion I believe that for this valuable enterprise to thrive we all need to subscribe!

  2. I agree completely with Mr. Erlich. Teresa does a great job with up to date coverage of local topics and it would be a real loss to our community if this news resource can’t continue due to budget constraints. Please do what you can to support MEN!

  3. A person told me that her family loves PBS and watch it, but won’t send them money because they have too many subscription breaks. I pointed out that if viewers all contributed, there wouldn’t be a need for so many subscription breaks. Duh! Falls into the category of people who read this online newspaper but don’t support it financially.

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