The next time you grab a print copy of the St. Helena Star, look in the very bottom-left corner of the front page for the volume number.
Those Roman numerals mean the St. Helena Star is in its 147th year of reporting local news. It will be around for another 147 years – but only if we support it.
Gone are the days when classified and display ads paid all the bills and newspapers could afford to virtually give away their product for 25 or 50 cents. Today’s newspapers, including the Star, can’t survive without the financial support of readers like you.
Last week we interviewed one of our own boardmembers: Sean Scully, editor of the Napa Valley Register and director of news content for the Star.
The good news is that despite the layoff of former editor Dave Stoneberg, the Star and its parent company, Lee Enterprises, aren’t in danger of going out of business. And while journalism is going in a digital direction and print papers might eventually become luxury products, the print version of the Star remains popular and will be around for a very long time.
However, the future of the Star and newspapers in general depends on more readers buying subscriptions.
A Black Friday offer good through Monday gets you unlimited online access to the St. Helena Star, Napa Valley Register, The Weekly Calistogan and American Canyon Eagle for $5 for the first five months (then going up to $10.99 a month).
A digital subscription, which includes an e-edition of the Register, would be the perfect Christmas gift for a family that can’t afford one, a high-school student looking to become civically engaged, the proud parent of an athlete who might be featured on the sports page, or a new neighbor you want to welcome to our city.
In exchange for your money, you get coverage of local business, politics, community, sports, crime (who doesn’t love the police log?), the coronavirus, and the near-constant threat of wildfires.
Scully said donor-funded organizations like NPR have done a good job teaching consumers that news and programs aren’t free, but newspapers are just now learning to educate readers about that quid pro quo.
The readers are there, Scully said. The Star’s circulation relative to St. Helena’s population demonstrates the paper’s extraordinary market penetration, he said.
The challenge is to teach the people who love and value the Star that they have a crucial role to play in maintaining its long-term viability.
If you already support the Star with your subscription dollars, thank you.
If you don’t, and if you value local journalism, please go to napavalleyregister.com/members/join and help the Star remain a vibrant and vital part of the St. Helena community.
The Star editorial board consists of Director of News Content Sean Scully and community volunteers Norma Ferriz, Shannon Kuleto, Bonnie Long, Peter McCrea, Chuck Meibeyer, Gail Showley and Dave Yewell. Scully was our guest this week, so he did not participate in the drafting of this editorial.