In observing World Press Freedom Day — Sunday, May 3 — the publisher of the New York Times is urging readers and everyone to donate and subscribe to local news organizations in their communities — including WhatsUpNewp.com

Local journalism is in crisis and at risk of disappearing,” the Times said. “These vital resources are critical to the safety, security and knowledge of our communities, never more so than in these difficult times. On World Press Freedom Day and every day, we encourage you to find a local news organization you trust and support it.”

The Times created a database of trusted local news outlets, vetted by organizations such as Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION) — of which What’s Up Newp is a member of — and the Institute for Nonprofit News.

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That resource was published Friday, with the announcement that “News organizations near you are at risk. Support them today.

You can save yourself a few click and support What’s Up Newp right here:

Help support our locally owned, independent newsroom
We know you care about independent, fact-based coverage of Newport County—that’s why you’re here. But it costs money to keep our community informed. Support What’s Up Newp today and help fund the essential hyper-local journalism of tomorrow.

“I wanted to reach out to you to say how much we appreciate the important, difficult work you’re doing right now,” Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger wrote in a letter to local news publishers sent Friday. “My colleagues and I stand with you in your commitment to providing information that is critical to the safety, security, and knowledge of our communities. As the coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented reporting challenges and growing financial pressures, it’s also underscored the value of great journalism.”

Calling World Press Freedom Day a “a day dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of an independent press,” Sulzberger wrote that the Times is launching “a campaign encouraging readers find a local news organization they trust, and to support it through a subscription or donation.”

The New York Times database includes hundreds of locally owned, independent news organizations, like What’s Up Newp.

“Like many of my colleagues at The Times, I spent years working in local news,” Sulzberger wrote. “We know firsthand the essential role original, quality news organizations play in communities across the nation. And we’ve been distressed to watch as the pressure on local news continues to rise through the pandemic, leading to an estimated 36,000 journalists being laid off or furloughed in a matter of months. We hope we can help by raising awareness of the importance of supporting local news organizations…. Thanks for all you do.”

Last month, What’s Up Newp was among 450 local news organizations across the United States to be awarded special grants for reporting on the coronavirus outbreak by Facebook.

The social media giant awarded $5,000 to Newport County’s independent news outlet “to cover unexpected costs associated with reporting on the crisis.”

That’s very welcome support, and it’ll help us keep doing what our small team has been doing for 112-15 or more hours daily for the past eight weeks — bringing Newport County and Rhode Island the latest in solid, factual, useful information about COVID-19, and its impact on our community.

As Frank Prosnitz, news editor for What’s Up Newp recently wrote, Whats Up Newp is feeling the same pressures as other small businesses during this COVID-19 crisis. Revenue is stretched, as advertisers, facing their own economic challenges, are temporarily putting their support on hold, at least until the virus clears.

So how have we responded? While newspapers in our community and across our state are laying off and furloughing seasoned journalists, we’ve added writers and dedicated journalists who plied their trade at places like the Journal and local television stations. We’ve encouraged our more than a dozen contributors to join us in what has been among the most robust coverage of the impact of the coronavirus locally, regionally, and statewide. 

We’ve written about the economy, told you about unsung heroes, and followed developments within our schools. We’ve provided the daily updates from the governor and Department of Health, as well as from other state and local officials. We’ve hosted local artists and musicians in our entertainment series and striven to help local service employees and musicians with a virtual tip jar. We’ve provided up-to-date and ever-changing lists of restaurants that provide takeout and delivery. We’ve striven to keep you updated 24/7 through our website, social media, newsletter, videos, and podcasts.

We couldn’t be prouder of our team of contributors, who have an unparalleled passion for providing our readers with information with which they can make important decisions about their lives. Our contributors wrote nearly 350 stories just in March and April on COVID-19 related subjects, and more than 600 stories overall. More than 195,000 of you have visited WUN, resulting in nearly 645,000 page views, just in March and April, and nearly 950,000 page views since the beginning of the year.

With all that said, we’re dedicated to keeping our working going with your help.

There are more stories out there not being reported — we want to continue to expand our journalism and our storytelling, while expanding our resources to provide you with more of the information, entertainment, and journalism that you need.

If just 10 percent of those who depend on us to fill in the holes on important stories like this viral outbreak would sign up to support us, we could bring on our first full-time reporter. If 20 percent of you did so, we could put two journalists to work digging into stories that we all need to know.

If you don’t already know, our success and our work ultimately depends on the support of this community to help us do our work.

What’s Up Newp also recognizes this is a tough time for everyone. If you can’t swing becoming a What’s Up Newp Supporter today, that is totally OK and you should keep reading, asking questions, sharing our stories, and telling your friends, colleagues, and coworkers about us.

You’ve sustained us for eight years. Now that real reporting is needed as it’s never been needed before, please invest in our locally owned, independent newsroom and become a What’s Up Newp Supporter today.


What’s Up Newp is Newport County’s most-read online news source. The information, journalism, and news that we provide on a daily basis are made possible because of the support of our readers and advertisers. Help support our locally owned, independent, award-winning newsroom by becoming a What’s Up Newp Supporter today.