All across America newspapers are struggling. Those that remain independent have turned to digital media to boost revenues, but user subscriptions – either for print or digital access – don’t replace the advertising newspapers traditionally rely upon. Hedge fund acquisitions of small newspaper chains have succeeded in gobbling up local publications in diverse cities; with an eye towards revenue rather than journalism, corporations have cut reporters and journalism budgets.
Here in Northern California we still enjoy a multitude of newspapers – daily, weekly, biweekly, and monthly – but the ownership has fallen into fewer and fewer hands. Truly independent publications not corporately owned are now a rarity. The Sonoma Valley Sun is proud to be one of the rare ones.
For more than a decade and a half we’ve positioned ourselves as the community’s independent voice, providing a platform for local writers, artists, photographers, and poets. Our content is what we call hyper-local, focused exclusively on Sonoma Valley and the City of Sonoma, and the issues and events that affect our community.
Our publication schedule and edition size have varied over time depending upon the economics of offering a free newspaper. It’s been particularly challenging during the pandemic; those who had been regular advertisers simply could not afford to purchase ad space. This has required us to reduce both the number of pages and the frequency of publication. Currently, editions are published on the 1st and the 15th of the month, and run 24 pages. Advertising is beginning to pick up, and we hope to increase to 32 pages once sufficient funds are available.
We also maintain Sonomasun.com, a free website updated daily.
Contributing writers are volunteers, and their time and efforts are made without compensation. Our Editorial Board meets weekly to plan future editions. Members are also volunteers and often content contributors as well, who do interviews, write articles, and provide photos. Our owner and editor Val Robichaud is a jack of all trades: a writer, photographer, ad manager, webmaster, and delivery man. He makes sure we print on time and that each edition makes its way to our distribution points across the valley. While not a volunteer, Val’s compensation is minimal.
We like to think that The Sun, not beholden to a corporate owner and free to pursue its own vision, is helping to sustain the health and well-being of our community. We hope you agree.
The Sonoma Valley Sun is not a registered nonprofit, but does accept contributions and paid delivery subscriptions. Your support helps us pay the bills for pre-press layout and printing, and we encourage you to Keep the Sun Shining by providing some needed financial support, at Sonomasun.com. Thank you!
–The Sun Editorial Board