When the Hardwick Gazette, a Vermont weekly, looked to sell, editor and publisher Ross Connelly had an idea. Readers would submit essays in a contest to select a new owner. The only problem was that not enough essays were submitted.
Connelly had set the minimum of required essays to 700 submissions. He had also charged a $175 entry fee for each 400-word submission. In an interview with Poynter, Connelly said “the winner of the contest gets the newspaper for 175 bucks, but I’m getting more than that.”
Unable to sell his paper with mail-in submissions, Connelly decided to turn to crowdfunding. Poynter’s article says the crowdfunding approach is more digitally friendly than the essay contest, which required entries be sent by mail.
Crowdfunding has become a popular way of fund raising for socially conscious campaigns. This idea of saving a weekly newspaper through crowdfunding has been much better received by donors, as Connelly is still receiving essay submissions and money for ownership!