The Fort Bend Star comes to you free each week, just as it has for the past four decades. It is entirely funded by advertising and we have no plans to change that. Yet for the second year in a row we are asking our faithful (and even occasional) readers to voluntarily donate to help support the paper.
Traditionally, whenever anyone subscribes to a print product, the majority of their subscription fee pays for delivery of the product. We give that to our readers at our expense. Unfortunately we are not immune to the affects the economy is having on our industry. Budget-minded advertisers everywhere are diverting a lot of their efforts to the “free” platforms of social media despite readership of newspaper content being at an all-time high.
A lot of that readership is online, but there is still a very significant portion of newspaper readers who still prefer the feel and smell of the printed page in their hands. There are many advantages to a print product, among them the permanence and prestige of being in the paper. You can’t stick a hyperlink or URL to your refrigerator with a magnet whenever your child or grandchild appears in the paper.
Just like vinyl has made a comeback in the age of digital music, newspapers never left and a growing number of readers are rediscovering the portability, ease of navigation, story selection, catchy advertisements (that don’t pop up and obscure your content), and the trustworthiness of local content provided by known, local, and reliable journalists.
We are a homegrown, mom-and-pop, small business with a small staff. We live, work, and play here. We have children and grandchildren in the local schools; we shop locally, pay local taxes, eat at local restaurants, and cheer the local teams. Our staff is active in the Fort Bend community. We go to local churches and support nonprofit organizations. We are your friends and neighbors.
It is our hope and our belief that you will find value and interest in what we print. It is our desire to not only be a record of events – the proverbial first draft of history – in our corner of the county, but we want to be an active participant and to be fully engaged in the goings on here. The Fort Bend Star is your real-life, living and breathing social media feed. It comes to your doorstep once a week and appears online each day.
In the coming weeks and months you will begin to notice changes in the paper. Our goal is to engage readers beyond headlines. We will continue to provide news and features that you have always depended on, but we also plan to do more things that are interactive in nature. We are still ironing out the details and it will undoubtedly be a work in progress, but examples of what you can expect to see can be found in our annual Senior Expo and the Family Fun Day. We will be doing more reader polls, trend stories, new businesses, traffic and construction, and such. You will see more “best of” and “top 10” type articles, local reviews, and in-depth research stories. And we hope to offer more community events in the future.
We are fully invested in our communities and our readers. We also desire the same in return. We want you to participate in polls, write letters to the editor, comment on stories, attend events, and share ideas, stories and photographs. This is your newspaper and we want you to be an integral part of it. That is another reason why we are asking for your help. Engaging in an ambitious plan like this requires a lot of time and resources, but we think the result will be worth it. It will make our communities better informed and further unite the diverse populations we serve.
By donating whatever you can – $5, $10, $20 or even $1,000 – you can help us make an investment in the betterment of Fort Bend County. Local newspapers are still your best and most reliable sources of community news – real news that’s of value and importance to you.
Just like a church won’t kick you out for not tithing, we won’t leave you for not donating. But we can do great things together and we’re asking you to see the possibilities and to help share in our success. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The more you do for and with us the more we can do for you.
To donate, you can visit our website at www.fortbendstar.com and find the “Voluntary Pay” button or you can mail at check to: Fort Bend Star, 3944 Bluebonnet Drive, Stafford, TX 77477 with “voluntary pay” in the memo line (please see the ad on page 4).
We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you to make Fort Bend County and better and more enjoyable place to live, work, and play.
P.S. A subscription to the Fort Bend Star makes a great Christmas gift for family and friends who no longer live in our area or for seniors living in nursing homes. Subscription information can be found on our website at www.fortbendstar.com.