A 1999 article about Shannon Leader’s family written by former Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein.

A 1999 article about Shannon Leader’s family written by former Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein.

Taking care of tomorrow’s news

When you support local journalism, you support our community and our democracy.

It took less than two minutes for a newspaper clip from 1999 to show up in a text message from one of Shannon Leader’s brothers.

Leader had just asked her “sibs” — her term of endearment for her five brothers and sisters — for a copy of a decades-old story about her family written by former Daily Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein. She wasn’t expecting an immediate response, thinking it might take time to pull out an old scrapbook or search through a box in storage. But three of them quickly produced copies of the Herald article capturing an end of an era for her family.

Re-reading that story today brings Leader, who now works as a student support advocate for the Mukilteo School District, back in time to when she and her sibs grew up in a big house on Rockefeller Avenue in Everett with their mom, Linden Kimbrough. The dynamics of what was happening nearly 25 years ago are still talked about today at family gatherings. Leader attributes that to good reporting and the interview questions, which uncovered facts like five of the six siblings took turns over a series of years delivering Herald newspapers on the same afternoon paper route.

“Seeing our family in the newspaper was a big deal,” she says. “It makes your life somehow more real to read about it in print.”

Leader is not alone in believing the Herald impacts our community in an important way through the stories we tell. According to nearly 1,400 readers who responded to our listening survey earlier this year, telling our community’s stories topped the list of the most valuable roles we play as Snohomish County’s local newspaper.

But that’s not all we do. Our dedicated news team provides you with information you can use in your daily life. We help you understand the issues and how problems can be solved. We keep you informed about public affairs, explain how you can participate civically, and hold local leaders in politics, business and other institutions accountable for their actions. We tell your stories that connect us as a community.

It really comes down to this: The Herald’s local journalism supports our community and our democracy. To keep providing this valuable public service, The Herald needs your support.

You can make a difference for your local newspaper — and our community — in several ways:

■ If you are not already, become a Herald subscriber. By signing up for a digital or print subscription, which gives you access to all our news online, you’re making a commitment to support local news.

■ If you have a story idea or a news tip, send an email to newstips@heraldnet.com. We might not be able to act on everything you suggest. With about two dozen journalists supporting our newsroom, we have to make tough decisions every day about what to cover.

■ If you feel strongly about something, share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by email to letters@heraldnet.com.

■ If you have a business, organization or event you want to tell others about, check out what advertising in The Herald could do for you.

■ If you read something in The Herald you feel others should know, share it. You’re an advocate for The Herald every time you mention or call attention to the valuable public service that local journalism delivers.

■ If you want to help The Herald continue or expand coverage, donate to one of our four community-supported journalism funds. These journalism funds, each established with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, help pay for the news resources for investigative journalism and health, education, and environmental and climate change reporting.

It’s nearing the end of the year, so you’re most likely getting multiple requests to donate to many worthy causes, and Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28 will encourage everyone to make a difference by being generous. As you consider how you can have an impact on your community through a year-end financial gift, keep these facts in mind:

■ Local newspapers continue to provide the vast majority of civic news coverage for their communities and they are the most trusted and valued source for local information.

■ Data from the Pew Research Center shows that between 2008 and 2020, more than 2,100 newspapers across the country — or about one quarter — shut their doors, newspaper revenue dropped more than 70% and surviving newsrooms lost 26% or more of their workforce.

■ Drastic reductions in the journalism workforce have taken a heavy toll, making it challenging to cover all the news a community needs to know. According to a new report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, the country has lost almost two-thirds of its newspaper journalists, or 43,000, since 2005.

■ That same report from Medill shows the loss of local newspapers accelerated this year to an average of 2.5 per week, leaving more than 200 U.S. counties as news deserts.

■ Studies show a loss in local news not only leads to declines in civic engagement, voting rates and contested elected races, it also increases polarization and government costs as a result of lack of scrutiny. It’s also a threat to our democracy.

We are grateful for the nearly 1,700 people, businesses, organizations and foundations that have demonstrated they value the Herald’s local news by contributing to our community-supported journalism funds. YOU make a difference.

During this season of gratitude — and throughout the year — we are thankful for your generosity.

The need for news is ongoing, so why wait for Giving Tuesday or the end of the year to be generous again — or for the first time? You can make an impact now with your gift. When you support local journalism, you support our community.

Learn how to donate to the Herald’s journalism funds and why local newspapers need community support at heraldnet.com/local-news-impact.

Brenda Mann Harrison is the journalism development director for The Daily Herald. To learn more about the impact of local news and how you can join others in supporting community journalism, go to heraldnet.com/local-news-impact, send an email to brenda.harrison@heraldnet.com or call 425-339-3452. The Daily Herald maintains editorial control over content produced through community-funded initiatives.

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