Friday, May 24th

The Future of Scarsdale10583 Is Up To You

scarsdalehomepage(Written by Joanne Wallenstein, Publisher of Scarsdale10583.com)

Since the abrupt demise of the Scarsdale Inquirer in January, many of you have stopped me on the street to say, “How does it feel to be the only game in town?” or better, “Thanks so much for giving us the news! I don’t know what we would do without you!” That’s nice to hear. And after 15 years of publication – without missing a week- it’s good to feel appreciated.

In response to your questions, I wanted to let you all know how it is going and where, with your help, we hope to go from here.

It’s been a journey -- and over the years we have developed into a full -scale operation that starts with the people behind the site. We have a terrific band of contributors including an ace police reporter, a former teacher who is covering the schools with sensitivity and insight, an assistant who posts our real estate column, a designer who handles our graphics and great input from our readers who send letters, opinions, and news of their events.

How do we do it? In order to cover the business of the town, we spend countless nights in Village Hall and at the Board of Education so that you don’t have to. In fact, we’ve sat in these chairs longer than many trustees and Board members who have term limits. We don’t.

And it’s not always pleasant. We got into the weeds on some thorny issues including a community wide debate over the renovation of the Greenacres School, a payroll tax error that ultimately brought down our school superintendent – and lately, some hard-fought fights over historic preservation, land use and flooding. We like to think that our coverage contributed to the establishment of the building moratorium and a re-thinking of our building code.

On the business side we formed an LLC, carry professional insurance, sell advertising, provide tax forms to our contributors, and pay for technology, software, and a tech consultant. We pay legal fees incurred when defending the site in some pretty frightening lawsuits. So far at least, we’re making it work. To disabuse anyone who is under the impression that this is a vanity enterprise, the site requires hours of work from a dedicated team.

Despite our best efforts to cover everything Scarsdale, we’ve heard that some are still nostalgic about the idea of flipping through a local paper instead of getting their news in digital form. However, the data shows that local print papers are quickly becoming a thing of the past…. like pay phones, vinyl records, walkmen and VCR’s. In 2023, sadly 130 print papers folded or merged, that’s 2.5 each week, and since 2005 2,900 local papers have gone under.

Why are newspapers becoming dinosaurs? Many factors have contributed to their demise. As you know, by the time the paper arrives, the news is already a week old and has been read online, digested, and forgotten. Local advertising dollars have shrunk with businesses targeting their buys online and on social media. The cost of paper, printing, postage and distribution no longer makes sense in an era when you can get your news online for free. Papers quickly move from the mailbox to the recycling bin and investors shy away from businesses with no future.

At the same time digital news sites are growing and thriving. The New York Times has seen astronomic growth of their digital subscriptions at a time that their list of paper subscribers if shrinking. Read this story of one local site that just won a Pulitzer Prize.

So, what’s my message to you? You have a viable local news site that faithfully delivers the news of the day. Scarsdale10583’s readership numbers are great. The open rate to our weekly email is 70% and we hope you’ll continue to read it and enjoy it. You can help to keep the site strong by sending us your letters, opinions, wedding and birth announcements and to ask friends to subscribe to get our weekly e-blast. If you have ideas on how to make the site better, please email us at scarsdalecomments@gmail.com or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

If you have a service or a business, we ask you to consider advertising to help fund the site so that we can pay our bills. If you’re supporting a cause or a candidate, take an ad to promote them. If you’re running or sponsoring a local event, pay to have it listed on our calendar or advertise it with a banner ad. It’s graduation season and we will be covering moving up ceremonies, prom, and end of year events. You’re invited to salute the graduates in your lives with tribute banners on the site.

And we’ll soon be asking for voluntary subscription payments (not a pay wall) so if you like Scarsdale10583 you’ll be able to show it with a contribution too.

In short, it’s an honor and a responsibility to report to such an educated and discerning group of readers. We’re proud that we have earned your trust and thank you for your loyalty. Please continue to read and embrace Scarsdale10583.com so that we can remain Scarsdale’s #1 news source and shine the light on the town you love.

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