We weren’t really sure what to expect. We knew we loved this newspaper, where a trip through the pages on any given week offers you an insider’s view of St. Louis’ food scene, introduces you to the musicians that still make this city sing and rewards you with in-depth, longform journalism unmatched by anyone in the state.
However, you’re an unpredictable bunch, and it was hard to know how you’d respond when we asked you to support the RFT. I had a sneaking suspicion that you’d come through, but who could say?
I should never have doubted. St. Louis can be maddening, but it’s also full of grinders who won’t quit on this town or this paper. As of this writing, 893 people have donated to the Riverfront Times Press Club. Some of them dipped into their pockets and dropped whatever they could afford at the moment into our hat. Others signed up for monthly contributions, almost like buying a subscription to a paper that’s been — and will continue to be — distributed for free for more than four decades. All together, readers have paid or pledged nearly $38,000 and counting.
Thanks to your help, we’ve been able to continue printing every week. And we’ve published important stories that you won’t read anywhere else. Did you see our interview with a pandemic price gouger or our eye-opening report on the new lives of retail workers? If you missed the tale of Kenyan immigrants who see hope in crisis or our look at the uncertainty and agony faced by the city’s restaurant and bars, you should check them out. And keep watching for a couple of important projects that are in the works right now.
Best of all, we’ve been able to hire back two of the five newsroom staffers we laid off in March when COVID-19 closures rocked our most loyal advertisers and forced us to reschedule the RFT parties that pay for our journalism.
If St. Louis is full of grinders, it shouldn’t surprise you that our paper is no different. Those same staffers who were laid off have continued to contribute — often for free — to keep this place going. Our network of regular freelancers have chipped in, too.
We’re still scrambling. We’re still hoping to bring more of of our staff back full-time. We still need your help, but we were making it work before COVID-19 tried to take us out, and there’s no reason to think we won’t recover if we keep pushing through. So we’re closing out this six-week campaign, but please consider joining the Riverfront Times Press Club if you haven’t already. If you have, thank you so much. Know that you’re keeping a St. Louis institution alive.
The wolves are still out there, but you’ve helped us tame them a bit. Eventually, we’ll all be friends. It’s going to be a good party.
Doyle Murphy is editor in chief of the Riverfront Times. He can be reached at [email protected] or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.