Sunday Morning Meditation – Don’t shoot the news

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 18, 2015
Artwork by Sharna Fulton

Artwork by Sharna Fulton

I haven’t made a direct appeal for fundraising in a while. It was kind of nice actually. I hate when the need for money gets in the way of the news.

When NPR and PBS do this sort of thing, they tend to hold programming hostage. “Give us the money, or we shoot the entire cast of ‘Downton Abbey’ in the head.” Ok, maybe not like that, although it would certainly make the fundraising appeals more interesting.

I’ve thought about “hijacking” the news, maybe sticking it behind a pay wall temporarily or annoying the crap out of you with some pop-up ad featuring my kid playing a tiny violin before you can read your news. But of course, I hate ads like that. Even if I wanted to do one, I wouldn’t know how to create it and my kid is a seven month old who can’t play the violin worth a damn. So there’s that.

But it’s the fourth quarter, and things are getting real for us here at Decaturish. We have some increased costs this month due to a heavier than usual load of freelancers covering forums for the Nov. 3 elections. That’s all necessary, and no, I don’t accept free writing. We pay our content producers here. It’s one of the reasons I started this company, to improve the market for local writers.

Then there’s the holiday season where people get busy and advertising dollars don’t come as easily, not that they ever came easy. So we’ve got that problem as well.

And, in general, my costs keep going up as the site grows. I recently had to make a serious investment in our server, one that includes reliable IT support when something goes awry. It was long past time to do that, but it is adding a monthly expense that is absolutely necessary to keeping our website up and running.

I wish some wizard somewhere had come up with the perfect formula for providing a bunch of free content with less money. I get a million suggestions a month on how to make more money, but it’s very easy to sit back and say, “You should do this” or “Have you tried this?” It’s much harder to try to get it done, which is what I’ve been doing for two years now. We’ve had a lot of success. We’re not broke. But right now we’re treading water and if we don’t start making more money soon, we’re going to be taking on water and drowning.

That’s reality and I don’t have the luxury of being able to tie a troupe of British actors to a railroad track to encourage you to pitch in.


I do, however, have some questions.

Do you value having timely, local news about your community?

Do you read this site regularly, even if it’s once a week?

Can you find the quality of the coverage that we do anywhere else? (Note: other websites who link to us and get “inspired” to do their own stories after reading our content don’t count.)

Without our site, would you know anything about the candidates running for the Nov. 3 elections? Would you know anything about annexation or cityhood? Would you have had timely information during DeKalb’s water pressure debacle over the summer?

Are you Jeff Bezos? (If you answered “yes” to the “Are you Jeff Bezos?” question, my number is 404-542-2562. Please holla.) Assuming you aren’t, do you have at least $6 a month to spare to help us continue producing the news that you enjoy reading?

If you answered yes to more than one of the above, I would strongly encourage you to consider subscribing. To subscribe, click here. We still have some subscribers who pitch in $12.99 a month. If you can swing it and want to sign up for that amount, click here. Or, if you don’t like paying a monthly fee, please consider making a one-time donation to Decaturish by clicking here.

News is a tough business and sticking with it requires you to either be just as tough or proportionately crazy. I’m not sure what side of that I fall on, but I know this: two years ago, I didn’t think I’d last more than six months. And yet this site is still here, growing our readership, holding our elected officials accountable and telling you the truth about the things that matter to you.

Maybe I’m crazy to still care about this stuff. I wish I had been just as passionate about stocks or drilling oil, but neither of those things make me want to get out of bed in the morning. Informing my community does, and I don’t think anyone else in these parts can make a credible claim of doing it better than Decaturish does.

If that matters to you, please consider helping us continue our mission and continue to grow.

Or else, the news gets it.


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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