VMG PUBLICATIONS ROLL OUT NEW MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN
January 7, 2021, Denver, CO – The iconic publication properties of Voice Media Group have announced a new reader-engagement model that allows readers to contribute to their award-winning independent local journalism.
Under the “I Support” campaign, VMG’S Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword, Dallas Observer, Miami New Times, and Houston Press are generating important revenue by asking readers to contribute to the cause, either by making recurring annual or monthly members contribute or making one-time donations.
During a period of declining advertising sales that have caused many American newspapers and websites to scale back operations, impose mandatory paywalls, or shut down entirely, voluntary reader contributions are already being used to support VMG’s vibrant coverage of local news, arts, music, food, and events, which is still offered to the general public at no charge.
Supporters can also chip in by subscribing to one or more email newsletters, which offer up-to-the-minute information about everything from local news to restaurants, music, arts, and free promotions.
“We love our readers, and we know many of them look to us for trustworthy coverage of our communities,” said VMG corporate vice president of marketing Jenna Corday. “Rather than creating a paywall, it seemed natural to turn to them for support, given their loyalty and commitment to our brand.”
Many other American publications have started membership programs in an effort to remain viable. But Corday notes that VMG’s “I Support” campaign offers readers a full range of engagement options and opportunities, from signing up for a newsletter to the ability to browse their hometown website in a streamlined, entirely ad-free environment. Readers who agree to make recurring annual or monthly contributions to one of the publications receive the ad-free experience as part of their memberships, including exclusive email communications from editors.
The program’s ultimate goal: opening up a line of communication with loyal readers while making it as easy as possible for them to help the company’s reporters and editors keep doing important work at a high level.
“We love to hear from our readers, and a key part of the ‘I Support’ initiative is asking for their feedback,” added Corday. “That can be anything from a story idea to questions about our journalism or even the ‘I Support’ program itself. We don’t just see this as an opportunity to generate revenue; we see it as a way to open up a line of communication with the audiences we serve.”
For decades, VMG publications have won the nation’s most prestigious journalism awards and written thousands of stories that made an impact in their communities. They’ve also served as a proving ground and launching pad for dozens of young journalists, many of who have gone on to work at the nation’s most prominent publications. The “I Support” program hopes to enable those sorts of achievements and opportunities for years to come.