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San Diego CityBeat Hits 500 Issues, But Future Is In Doubt

San Diego CityBeat hit a milestone this week, with the publication of its 500th issue. But while the paper is reading better than ever, it’s struggling mightily on the financial end.

Writes editor Dave Rolland:

As we inch toward another milestone—our big 10th anniversary in August—CityBeat is at a crossroads. We have to get our spending closer in line with our income. Not long ago, print ads were all that newsweeklies needed to thrive. It’s just not the case anymore. While it’s still the lifeblood, papers like ours across the country are forced to find new ways to pay for their news coverage…

We’re considering a wide range of options—from the traditional (selling T-shirts and other merch) to the wildly unconventional (selling “bricks” of space in our paper to individual readers, sort of like selling actual bricks of a new building to donors). The alternative to coming up with innovative fundraising ideas is to hack away at our content. San Diego needs more high-quality journalism, not less. For heaven’s sake, the daily newspaper is owned by a local developer whose stated No. 1 priority is getting a football stadium built on the waterfront…

The economy’s starting to improve, and we believe advertising will pick up. But the industry will likely never be the same as it was a decade ago; finding ways to pay for reporting will remain a fact of life.

This is our 500th issue. We’re proud of what we’ve done. We want to do more. We need your help.

Here’s hoping they figure things out. Whenever we hear interesting news out of San Diego, it always seems like the CityBeat is right in the middle of it. It would be criminal to halt that momentum in any way.

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