We are on a mission to grow The Lead, and we need your assistance to make this happen.
Late last month, Meta Facebook announced that it was scaling back its news partnerships, including its support of The Lead. While we have a two-year contract with Facebook's Bulletin to provide coverage in Kerr County, it leaves us in a position to begin transitioning to a new platform to best support our subscribers and viewers.
In a year, we've made a lot of progress covering Kerr County. We don't tout awards; we believe it's in our metrics where our work is best defined.
- We've written more than 830 articles distributed through our email newsletter, social media and kerrcountylead.com.
- Our signature content piece, The Lead Live, will complete over 250 shows. In 2022, we visited with more than 400 guests and produced over 175 hours of original content. The live show attracted more than 400,000 viewers over the last year.
- We now have more than 3,200 newsletter subscribers and 7,000 followers on our social media channels.
- We have provided high-quality breaking news and analysis that is unmatched in the market.
- The Lead was awarded grant funding through the Google News Initiative and the Local Independent Online News organization.
- Harvard's Nieman Lab and other publications have written about The Lead's launch.
One direction we are taking is crowdsourcing our efforts to match a $6,000 one-time grant from Google to ensure we have a sustainability plan for our future growth. That plan includes hiring a business development manager, transitioning to a new content management system and improving our live video production efforts. We believe we're on the right track and have a model that will deliver in the future, especially in the shifting winds of the media landscape.
JOIN OUR MISSION: If you're interested in helping us match those dollars, please donate at https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/YE5IHXVYW4GJ5HUOOKXJDI4E
Harvard University's Nieman Lab's Joshua Benton wrote about the Facebook plans more than a month ago, including this chilling line: "And on the other, Facebook wants to demote what little news still remains in its primary feed, having found that it doesn't keep users engaged as much as an algorithm-generated stream of random videos."
Social media is a powerful tool for news consumption, but it's also been a place of misinformation and siloes. The Lead's focus is on building a local news system separate from these limitations, and we're on the right track.
We aim to build a matching fund to augment our paying subscribers and sponsors. The funds from this effort will go toward:
- Building capacity for further business development.
- Expanding our offerings in the digital video studio.
- Acquiring a new content management system to replace our current Facebook-backed system.
All that we ask is you consider making a donation to reach our goal of matching our $6,000 grant. We appreciate your backing of The Kerr County Lead. As of Aug. 11, we've raised $2,160.
If you're interested in helping us match those dollars, please donate here: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLEWCF2K4ASZZ/checkout/YE5IHXVYW4GJ5HUOOKXJDI4E
To read more about Facebook's plans for news on its website check out these resources:
The Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-rethinks-news-deals-and-publishers-stand-to-lose-millions-in-payments-11654812251
Nieman Lab: https://www.niemanlab.org/2022/06/facebook-looks-ready-to-divorce-the-news-industry-and-i-doubt-couples-counseling-will-help/