Sunday Morning Meditation – Why I subscribe

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 14, 2014
Photo from Decaturish reader Ben Stuenkel

Photo from Decaturish reader Ben Stuenkel

I often get asked what my business model is. That’s a fair question. I usually respond by saying that the model is to find the model.

If figuring out how to fund and provide quality local journalism online were easy, someone would’ve figured it out by now. I have some luxuries other companies don’t have. I’m not in debt and I don’t have big-dollar investors. I have a luxury few other companies have: failure. I can try things to generate revenue without having to worry about a creditor breathing down our necks. If I fail, I can try something else. Failure is instructive. The lessons learned give you a map of pitfalls to avoid.

But I do count on the support of readers to help provide you with solid local journalism every single day.

From the beginning, Decaturish has relied on the donations of its readers who have expected nothing in return besides good reporting that isn’t stuck behind a pay wall.

A few months ago I announced a subscription drive at $12.99 per month. When I got enough letters saying that was just too much, I cut the subscription price to $6. Since then I’ve gone from about 30 subscribers to more than 70. Some actually insisted on staying at $12.99 even after I sent them instructions on how to resubscribe at the lower rate and offered them a refund. Clearly, we are very lucky to have them in our corner.

Subscriber dollars help me pay freelancers who can go to local meetings and pick up other news items so we can have well-rounded coverage. Also, I like having voices on this website that aren’t mine. Contributors provide perspective and diversity that is often lacking in other news outlets.

I recently asked some of my subscribers if they could give us a short sentence or two about why they chose to support Dcaturish every month. If you’re still on the fence about subscribing, check out what our subscribers have to say …

I was an early adopter before the price reduction and I have kept my level of support at $12.99. I subscribed because I felt that your coverage offered something that was lacking—more in depth discussion, more background, more updates. I find myself more knowledgeable about Decatur’s and surrounding areas’ goings on than I was before your website existed. Armed with information, I can make more informed choices, participate in needed community discourse, and feel generally more connected with my town. The style of writing also appeals to me as does the transparency.

Thanks and keep up the great work!

– Deb Baumgarten


I subscribe to because I want to support and encourage its continued existence. I value Decaturish because it provides reliable, timely information about aspects of my community that directly affect me. By contrast, when I use other, larger news sources, I have to spend time sifting through piles of irrelevant information to find items that relate to life in my community.

In addition, Decaturish provides actionable details about the news it covers. This includes important particulars such as dates, times, names, etc.

Finally, I like Decaturish because you focus on aspects of life about which normal everyday people care: business openings and closings, new opportunities for recreation and entertainment, actions taken by local government, crime and police actions, street closings, etc.


Lee E. Coursey


A daily source of news about my​ neighborhood which is well written, easily accessible, and not available elsewhere

-Deborah Palmer


I subscribed to Decaturish because WABE/NPR’s fund drives have taught me the importance of contributing to media outlets I visit regularly and enjoy. Local matters are important to me and the stories you publish allow me to stay in the loop of my neighborhood.

– Alianor Chapman


I was honestly not sure that I needed to subscribe to a free online blog when there are so many other things I need to buy or contribute to.  But your coverage this past week of Decatur annexation issues and the request that Gateway students be able to stay in CSD schools convinced me.  I can’t get that kind of local news anywhere else.  I support local public radio stations for similar reasons.

– Laura Fehrs


Decaturish is fast, detailed news that is local to me.   You report news in a time where most journalists are more concerned with narrative than facts.  Decaturish has quickly built a reputation for honest reporting.

– Russell Steen


Why do I subscribe?

Because Decaturish reports on many local meetings. Local reporting is crucial on issues such as CSD, annexation, CoD, and Decaturish consistently provides timely coverage. Also, Decaturish has provided in-depth information on local issues (shuttering of McGowan’s, for example). This information is relevant to my community and makes me better informed about local policies and politics.

– Ann Laidlaw


I decided to subscribe to Decaturish because when I thought about my daily routine of which news sites I look at every day and which articles I forward or mention to friends. . Decaturish was at the top.  I feel that it does an excellent job of keeping me informed of local news which directly affects my life.  Before Decaturish, I don’t think I was aware of everything in Decatur because it had to be dug up from many multiple sources.  It’s important to be informed and participate in your community and Decaturish helps me to do that.  Therefore, I felt it worthwhile to subscribe so that it would continue to exist.

– Allison Howard


One of my favorite things about living in Decatur is our amazing independent businesses, and how well our community supports these local entrepreneurs. Doing the same for was a no-brainer. This is a great source for local news and happenings, and I wanted to do my part to make sure they are able to continue providing this service.

– Kelly H. McMullen


I choose to subscribe because Decaturish covers annexation and other hyperlocal topics like no one else. If we didn’t have Decaturish, our neighborhood wouldn’t have the most up -to- date information. Thanks for all you do Decaturish!

–  Renee DeGross Valdes


I check Decaturish every day to discover things I didn’t realize were going on in my own backyard. The articles and voices reflected in these stories reflect the area I know and appreciate. Dan has been very upfront about what he’d like to do, how he is approaching growth in the enterprise, and is setting a very high standard for asking respectful but persistent questions to get answers for things many of us are thinking about, or could be. I would miss this site if it wasn’t here, I would hate to think it takes someone 20 hour days to keep it going, and I think the $12.99 I continue to pay each month is a good investment for me, the site, and anyone who wants to visit.

– Wally Leisering


We support Decaturish because we need local news coverage, and we like your investigative style.

 – Michelangelo Grigni

Your support helps provide news to your community for free.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Jennifer Brown

    I could have written Deb Baumgartner’s comments! I completely second her “emotion” and thoughts (a grateful $12.99 subscriber) Jennifer Brown

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