Inside LINK: How do we pay for all this?

Lacy Starling
Lacy Starling
Lacy is the president and CEO of LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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Inside LINK is a weekly column from our CEO, Lacy Starling. If you have questions you’d like Lacy to answer, email her at [email protected].

About once a week, I get an email from one of our readers, suggesting a new coverage area they’d like to see – restaurant reviews, education, arts and entertainment listings, health sciences, etc.

I love all the ideas. My opinion is that there’s no such thing as too much coverage for NKY.

The issue with adding all that coverage is paying for it. My number one job as CEO of LINK is to ensure that we are sustainable – that in 50 years, when I’m retired and living in the woods somewhere, LINK is still covering the NKY Metro.

In order to ensure that longevity, I have to carefully balance how much money we spend against how much we are bringing in. We don’t have any debt, and the initial investments made to get us launched were used to acquire The River City News and Fort Thomas Matters, build this fabulous website, and develop our brand identity.

After those three things were paid for, we were on our own. Everything that we do inside LINK now is paid for in one of two ways – either through advertising and sponsorships, or grants from the NKY Community Journalism Fund.

Advertising and sponsorships pay for our overhead – rent, parking, coffee and printer paper, etc. – our executive salaries, and all our arts, entertainment, and sports coverage. Donations to the CJF are restricted to what’s called “public interest journalism” – education, politics, health, business, development, and local government.

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I’m proud to say that we’ve exceeded expectations this year. We’ve been able to hire more full-time reporters and retain more part-time contributors than I initially planned for, due to the hard work of our sales staff and the generosity of the community. We are now the largest, most comprehensive news team that NKY has had since The Kentucky Post closed in 2007.

But of course we want to do more. NKY is a large, populous, diverse community with stories to tell, and issues to solve. We need more reporters, for the big stuff (education, development), and the fun stuff (restaurant reviews, arts).

That’s where you come in. We need support from the community if we are going to be successful, and there are a multitude of ways you can support us.

First – read the content and share it with others. Let people know we are here, and we are covering the NKY Metro the way it deserves to be covered. Sign up for our newsletter, and forward it to other folks who might love it.

Second – if you have a business that needs to reach customers in NKY, advertise with us. Or, sponsor some kind of coverage that is particularly meaningful to you. Love restaurant reviews or arts coverage? Talk to us about how a sponsorship can pay for that.

Third – donate to the NKY Community Journalism Fund. If public-interest reporting is your passion, donating to the CJF is the best way to support it. Minus the miniscule (we’re talking less than 1%) fee that the Horizon Community Funds charges us to administer the fund and process payments, 100% of your donations go straight to reporting on the issues that matter in NKY.

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If you love what we are doing, and you want us to do more of it, pick one (or two, or three) of those options and help.

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