Seth Rogovoy (photo Richard Lovrich)
The Rogovoy Report always has been and always will be free and open to anyone to visit, and the e-newsletters I produce under the Rogovoy Report banner are free to anyone who signs up. I am committed to this online publishing model, even though so many others are moving toward a paid subscription model.
For those who don’t know, BerkshireDaily and HudsonValleyDaily are free, Monday-Friday e-blasts delivered around 7am to subscribers’ inboxes. They include a daily compilation of news, features, reviews, and commentary with coverage of and from around the corner to around the globe, from a multitude of sources, and curated especially for you by me with an unabashedly strong point of view. Signup for these daily emails (and their once-weekly cultural preview cousins, BerkshireWeekend and HudsonValleyWeekend) is totally free (you can sign up right now by clicking on the links to the newsletters you’d like to receive). My subscriber list is never sold or shared (honestly, no one has ever even asked for my list!). You can also follow the Rogovoy Report and its individual lists on Facebook and Twitter – for more info on the Rogovoy Report‘s social media feeds, click here.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I added a voluntary payment option to the Rogovoy Report website and e-newsletters, allowing those who could afford to and who were so moved to help defray the cost of my providing these free services, which help support many arts, culture, and lifestyle nonprofits in the region with regular preview coverage of their events and projects.
In the first year, readers of the Rogovoy Report responded en masse and with great generosity to this crowd-funding effort, either with one-time gifts or recurring payments, via the PayPal button on the Rogovoy Report website (near the top of the right panel on this page).
Many continue to make use of this crowd-funding option, and many have also enjoyed the perks of being contributors to the Rogovoy Report, which often include free concert or theater tickets, free gift certificates to the best dining establishments, overnight stays at some of the region’s top hotels and spas, and even free, locally made and internationally coveted ukuleles!
These promotions are often made available to one-time donors, and recurring donors are always included in these offers. Over the last three years, literally thousands of dollars in benefits have been awarded – nearly as much as the amount contributed on average to the Rogovoy Report.
Let me explain a bit about what is entailed in researching, writing, reporting, editing, and publishing the Rogovoy Report:
Putting together the daily newsletters alone (BerkshireDaily and HudsonValleyDaily) is the equivalent of a halftime job (4 hours/day = 20 hours/week). The weekend preview web-based posts and newsletters (BerkshireWeekend and HudsonValleyWeekend) take a minimum of eight hours but often twice that long. So on average, the weekend preview work is an additional 12 hours on top of the 20, for a total of 32 hours per week – not including time taken for original reporting and/or reviewing and/or blogposts.
So it’s easy to see that maintaining and producing the Rogovoy Report easily adds up to a full-time, 40-hour a week job.
I do not, however, earn the bulk of my personal income from the Rogovoy Report. I have several other ongoing projects upon which I rely to, in a sense, defray the expense of writing, editing, and publishing the Rogovoy Report. These projects together easily clock another 40-hour workweek, so in total I work an 80-hour workweek.
I am NOT complaining, however, because I love what I do, and I love being an independent operator. I am and have always been a news junkie and an inveterate reader, and I love to share my discoveries. Plus it beats pumping gas or mining coal.
Maintaining the Rogovoy Report, however, has its own expenses. Those directly related to the daily e-newsletters alone include paid subscriptions to most of the sites from which I regularly aggregate stories, so that subscribers need not do so themselves.
The sites to which I maintain paid subscriptions include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Berkshire Eagle, the Albany Times Union, and Columbia-Greene Media. Most of these paid subscriptions cost $400 per year, so my subscription costs alone, just for full access to newspapers online, costs me nearly $3,000.
In addition, I buy paid access to magazines including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, New York Magazine, the New York Review of Books, Rolling Stone and others. Add about $500 a year for this access.
In order to guarantee timely access to the Internet and delivery of the e-newsletters and web content, I pay a premium for my Internet service. In fact, I purchase two separate Internet connections, one via a cable company, the other through Verizon DSL, so that when one goes down or slows down, I can keep working. This costs me $170/month, or over $2,000 per year.
And MailChimp, the mail program that formats and delivers the daily and weekly e-newsletters, costs $45/month, or $540 per year.
So expenses alone come to over $6,000 per year.
This of course doesn’t include my time or overhead as an “expense.” I’ll let you decide what you think my unpaid, 40-hour workweek is worth.
Of course, I do get some revenue for the Rogovoy Report via paid advertising, in return for which advertisers gain direct access to my readership base, i.e. you.
But still, the most immediate and gratifying way to receive support for my efforts is with voluntary, direct contributions from readers via the PayPal “Donate” button near the top right-hand panel on this page.
Read more here about how voluntary contributions to the Rogovoy Report help and are needed to insure the continuation of my efforts.
It’s quick and easy to figure out that with the modest help of just a few hundred of the 4,500 or so recipients of the e-newsletters plus some regular visitors to the website, I could enjoy a steady and decent income, cover my expenses and pay all my bills, not have to scrounge around for extra income and advertising, and spend more time doing what I do best. (What I do worst is selling advertising and billing for it, in case you were wondering).
Do the math: If close to one-quarter of the 4,500 subscribers to the e-newsletters kicked in less than 20 cents per newsletter (or $1/week), that would approach $50,000 per year. If 1,000 subscribers — fewer than one out of four – paid $5 per month (the cost of a fancy latte or two cups of coffee), that would amount to $60,000 a year.
Or if 500 folks ponied up $10 per month, same thing. That’s the beauty of crowdfunding micropayments spread across a large audience. Of course, for every person who contributes even more, a few might contribute less – from each according to his means – and this could be a more firmly grounded business proposition.
And in this scenario, I could spend even more time scouring the web for the best stories to share with you, and even more time doing original reporting and writing to provide you with the kind of on-the-scene coverage that is increasingly and unfortunately not available anywhere else.
If you enjoy what you read here on the website and in the e-newsletters, if you place some value on what I do and what I provide, please think of a way that you can help, either through a recurring payment, a one-time payment, through major sponsorship of one of the big-ticket expense items outlined above, or through advertising.
A lot of what I do supports many other worthy endeavors – other independent sources of local journalism, arts organizations, performing groups, independent businesses, local agriculture, artists, musicians, and a variety of causes that benefit from my advocacy journalism.
Please remember: Contributions to the Rogovoy Report are not tax-deductible, but they do support my efforts to provide independently owned, non-corporate, locally based cultural journalism free of charge. Think of this as your community-supported news service, along the model of community-supported agriculture (CSA) or a co-op.
P.S. If you would prefer, rather than using the PayPal donate button, you can send checks made payable to The Rogovoy Report to:
PO Box 34
Hudson, NY 12534