As I mentioned in my Publisher’s Note in this issue, we’re taking a break from publishing in January. Why? Because we’ve been seeing a decline in consistent advertising and a uptick in expenses that have skyrocketed for the last few years.
Visitation numbers to Tahoe have been down since last spring and that, in turn, means businesses have seen a downturn in sales. Local businesses have reported a 30 to 40 percent decline in sales. When visitors spend less money or we have less visitors coming to Tahoe, that trickles down to Tahoe Guide and the advertising we rely on to publish.
So, I made the decision to cut our January edition and make this edition our New Year Edition. I had already changed our winter publication schedule to publish only monthly through April after experiencing huge losses in advertising revenue during the pandemic and we haven’t seen that rebound, particularly in the winter. As the sole owner of Tahoe Guide, the money has been coming out of my personal pocketbook to keep the magazine going. That’s not sustainable.
Our readership is at an all-time high and actually grew during the pandemic. I have demand to increase our distribution locations, but we’re unable to meet that demand without consistent revenue from advertisers. Before the pandemic, most of our clients signed annual contracts to advertise in every edition of the magazine, which led to a stable source of income to publish the magazine and pay our local staff and contributors.
During the pandemic that disappeared literally overnight. And, it has not come back. Our clients are telling us they are still struggling to stay afloat themselves and they are only deciding a week before each edition goes to press whether they can afford to advertise or not. I can’t continue to publish Tahoe Guide regularly without knowing whether or not we have enough advertising to cover our costs.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be reevaluating our publication schedule for the winter and may cut additional editions and I’m also considering ending our Makers feature that appears in every edition. Since we started profiling local artists and creators in 2014, we have featured hundreds of local artists in Tahoe Guide. Far more than any other publication in the region.
How can you help?
A few months ago, I launched our Patron Circle membership program to raise funds to help fund Tahoe Guide. I’m grateful for the locals and vacation homeowners who have joined our Patron Circle to help with our costs. However, that hasn’t produced enough revenue to maintain a consistent publication schedule this winter. So, what can you do?
Fund a writer
You can make the most impact by funding one of our writers. Our writers cover a variety of topics including local environmental issues, visitor impacts, public access to the backcountry, food & wellness, entertainment and the arts.
To fund coverage of one writer for their continued work, we request a donation of $15,000. That will cover one writer to continue to write one feature for every edition of Tahoe Guide for one year.
Think about that. In every edition of Tahoe Guide, you’ll find at least one recreation feature, one food feature, one entertainment feature, one artist feature and the history column. So, for each edition, that’s five works by local journalists that are researched, written and published. That doesn’t include our amazing design staff, editors, social media managers, administrative costs and printing costs. Our print bill tops out at $100,000 each year.
Think big and sponsor one of our writers. If you’re interested in making a large donation, contact me at email@example.com.
Sponsor a section
I’m grateful to Dave Wilderotter of Tahoe Dave’s Skis & Boards, who has sponsored Mark McLaughlin’s history column for the last two years. Dave’s financial support helps ensure that Mark’s column continues to be included in every edition.
A local business or family can pick any section in the magazine to sponsor and we’ll recognize your sponsorship on the page (you may remain anonymous, as well). To become a feature sponsor, we request a $3,500 donation. That will offset our costs to include that section in every edition of Tahoe Guide. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
Join the Patron Circle
Consider joining our Patron Circle with a donation to help fund our continued operations. You can join at tahoeguide.fundjournalism.org with a one-time, annually or monthly donation of any amount.
Purchase a subscription
In 2022, we started offering print subscriptions by mail at the request of many of our readers. It’s been a huge success, but we’re seeing drops in our renewals with many citing their own household cost cutting. You can help by purchasing a subscription for yourself or a friend or family member at YourTahoeGuide.com/subscribe.
Support our clients
They, too, are struggling and supporting local businesses that advertise with Tahoe Guide does help us. Be sure to mention that you saw their ad in Tahoe Guide.
Purchase your new ski boots, gear, clothing and other items from local Tahoe businesses. These businesses all rely on your support to stay open and shopping locally bolsters the entire Tahoe economy.
I want to say Thank You to the advertisers that have continued to support us throughout the pandemic and to our amazing readers. I appreciate all of you.