Dear PRT supporters,
It has been said that the fabric of communities, small and large, is woven together and safeguarded by the local newspaper. Unfortunately, in recent years, the fabric has been unraveling throughout our nation as regional publications struggle to remain solvent. Newsstands that once offered comprehensive coverage of local events have been replaced with non-descript tabloids replete with advertisements but mostly devoid of newsworthy content. I’m sure you have all seen them at the entrance to your favorite fast food restaurant.
The same would certainly be true of our community if it were not for the support of our advertisers, the dedication of our governing board and staff, and perhaps most importantly, the generous donations from our readership. In 2019, revenue generated by your donations qualified the PRT to receive $22,000 in matching funds from the Miami Foundation.
The PRT was able to take advantage of this opportunity, because of our membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News, a trade association striving to preserve and improve nonprofit news publications in the U.S. and Canada. We continue to look for additional ways to develop our news reporting capabilities and to create opportunities to inform our communities.
The Board has prioritized three areas for the use of funds. First, aside from addressing the perennial shortfall between advertising revenue and expenses, we are investing in our staff. The PRT has made provisions for staff development and changed their status from contract work- ers to part time employees. In addition, we have added more staff hours to support our advertising, design, fundraising, and e-communications functions, and we have given them a long overdue 10% raise. Second, we are expanding our role as a convener and sponsor of community events. We plan to organize and support various activities such as the photo and essay contest for stu- dents, rejuvenation of our recycling program, a Sherriff’s Candidates Forum, and the collaboration with the University of Arizona’s Journalism Department which will add one special edition of the paper. Against the backdrop of ever-present financial uncertainty, highlighted by the ramifications of the coronavirus, we have created a reserve fund to carry us through leaner times,ensuring that the PRT can continue to bring you the news.
For almost a year, the PRT sought to replace our advertising manager to help us increase sales revenue. Jared Krikorian has recently joined our staff, filling a dual role for the PRT. In addi- tion to serving as our new advertising manager, he is also working as our administrative assistant, helping us to improve our web presence, improving our data storage and providing much needed technical support. In addition to his extensive experience in advertising, Jared is also a talented graphic design specialist who will be able to assist businesses with the development of attractive and effective advertisement.
In our quest to broaden community representation and participation on our Governing Board, two members have been added. Mollie Wright, a lifelong resident of Patagonia and Jamie Smith, who resides in Sonoita, have joined us. We welcome their enthusiastic and energetic in- volvement.
Without your help, the PRT could not have made these improvements, let alone exist. You have our unwavering assurance that the board and staff have not emerged complacent by your support. Rather, your generosity has inspired us to continue to move forward with our efforts to provide you with the best possible news and community services.
President, Patagonia Regional Times Governing Board