Many of you may have heard rumors that the Beacon was going to stop being published after the February issue. That was a distinct possibility based on a report to the Beacon’s Board of Directors, created by Board member Charlie Darling (former editor and publisher) and Shelley Geoghegan (current editor and publisher), that showed the realities of the current situation. But, with a lot of work over the past month, on the part of the Beacon’s Board, staff, volunteers, committed donors, and concerned citizens, the paper has been given a reprieve that just might take it into the distant future.
Newspapers in general have been struggling, even before the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that this newspaper too has had its share of financial difficulties caused in part due to rising costs of production, the need for more staff and volunteers, and the uncertainties of this new year’s economic situation nationwide. As a public non-profit entity, Community Publishing of Andover (The Andover Beacon) made the commitment in 2004 to distribute the newspaper for free to all Andover households, which now total over 1,220. Out-of-town issues are also mailed out by subscription. Print papers are not yet obsolete!
The good news is that a new group of people from Andover have stepped up to join the Board of Directors of the Beacon, to help address the financial, technological, and personnel/volunteer needs required to continue the success of “Our Hometown Newspaper” in a viable fashion. The current Board has served the community for many years, and they welcome the new members and fresh energy.
More details will be printed in the March issue of the Beacon, after the Board, and publisher, meet to map out some new strategies, and find ways to strengthen existing programs. Everyone is excited about this turn of events, despite the hard work ahead. The Andover Beacon is an important asset to the Town of Andover. To reinforce that thought, Ty Morris, one of the new Board members, wrote the following words, which sum up the essence of its value, and offers a plea to the community to be a part of its success:
Together we can go far. A few words about the Andover Beacon by Ty Morris
Importance: Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Small communities like ours thrive on such stones, cast by many — from town committees and community organizations to individuals — creating ripples that reflect the things we want and need in our community in order for it to be the place in which we want to live and work, to raise our children and be a sanctuary in which to retire. These stones are so embedded in our community’s DNA that they can sometimes be taken for granted: We expect the Andover Beacon to appear in our mailbox each month like clockwork, letting us know what’s happening in town, giving us opportunities to get involved and to express our opinions. But recently The Andover Beacon arrived at a crossroads where its future was uncertain.
Revitalization: The Andover Beacon is a non-profit run by a blend of paid employees and volunteers who are dedicated to providing our town and surrounding communities with the stones required to make ripples. This work depends on the help of the entire community in order to survive and to thrive. Although the quality of our local paper has never faltered, adjustments are needed, and renewed dedication is required.
Leadership: Our announcement in this issue is that a new board has been assembled to carry on the work of past volunteers to ensure that the Beacon remains in our lives and that it symbiotically thrives, along with each household, business, and organization in our wider community. We truly believe in the value and importance The Andover Beacon holds, the opportunities it can create and the difference it makes in people’s lives. We feel it is of such great importance to the framework of our free society that we shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that our local paper is not lost. We are all so grateful to those who have spent decades creating and publishing something that has become such a part of our lives, and for the enormous amount of work that has gone into developing The Andover Beacon as it is today. We are grateful as a community to have a traditional newspaper of our own.
Future: The goal of the new board is to maximize the Beacon’s potential. We hope that by expanding our reach, our voices will be heard louder, and our fundraising will be stronger. The future includes (and depends on) more community involvement. It aspires for more of your voices, and more community events and outreach to celebrate them. The mission is to maintain the things we believe make our community special and to broadcast those far and wide!
Cooperation and Collaboration: As you read along to this issue of YOUR local paper, please keep these words in mind. We need your help to keep this kind of community press alive. Our monthly publications are more than a stack of papers … they’re another reason we call this wonderful place home. Thank you for your support!