November marks the beginning of the Patagonia Regional Times’ annual fundraising campaign, that time of year when we ask our community to help us continue our mission to provide local news here in eastern Santa Cruz County.

Our reporting is community driven and community funded. In other words, we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for you. The PRT is a nonprofit newsroom that depends on donations and grants to be able to continue bringing you news and information that would otherwise go unreported.

For the fifth year in a row, the PRT has been selected to participate in NewsMatch, a national matching-gift campaign that drives donations to nonprofit newsrooms (like ours) around the U.S. We are also excited to announce that we have received confirmation of an additional $15,000 in matching funds from Loud Hound, a foundation that supports local, nonprofit news organizations.

Here’s how our fundraising campaign works: NewsMatch and Loud Hound will each match donations given in November and December. This can either be a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation. The bottom line is, no matter how you donate to the PRT before the end of 2023, your donation will be tripled thanks to NewsMatch and Loud Hound. That’s a big deal for the PRT.

In the past year our volunteer citizen journalists have worked tirelessly to bring you stories that inform you, to support our local nonprofits and small businesses, and to help us all connect with each other. In addition, our writers are participating in an exciting new online journalism course to hone their skills.

Our weekly e-newsletters continue to deliver news and community events, and we have expanded our coverage of breaking news in eastern Santa Cruz County. We reported on wildfires, road closures, environmental stories, news alerts from the Sheriff’s office and notices from the County. The PRT is working to develop a formal program to make breaking news more accessible for our readers.

Our website continues to grow. In 2022, we were excited that we had 87,000 website views. To date in 2023, incredibly, there have already been more than 130,000 views, a 50% increase in views in one year. PRT staff also share many of our articles, as well as breaking news, on social media, reaching 18,758 viewers, up 82% from last year’s numbers. The number of visits to our Facebook page is up 253% from last year.

In addition to providing our community with unique local news stories, the PRT hosted documentary film ‘Storm Lake’ at the Tin Shed Theater that examined the decline of local news. Our writers, board members and staff helped to paint the community mural being created under the direction of PCAA Director Cassina Farley. We initiated a Good Neighbor contest. And we have been hard at work creating policies and strategic planning.

The PRT has joined the Rural News Network,a consortium of independent, nonprofit news organizations, and last, but not least, we have added an original, locally based crossword to the print edition of the PRT.

The staff and board of the PRT have worked hard to implement all these innovations and expansion of services to support our mission to serve and engage our community.
But a free press isn’t free.

We need to raise at least $28,000 from our donors before the end of December. We hope that you will consider helping us to continue the work of bringing you your local news by participating in the NewsMatch campaign.

Will you make a donation to the PRT? Just think of the impact that could have— not just in our newsroom, but in our community. The time is now. Trusted journalism like ours has never mattered more. Give today and triple the impact of your donation. Send a check to: P.O Box 1073 Patagonia, AZ 85624. Or donate online at: patagoniaregionaltimes.org/donate