At the beginning of 1920, the Cloverdale Reveille reported big news about itself at the top of page one. The owners had just received shipment of a Mergenthaler Linotype machine, marking the end of a long era of hand-setting each letter, word and line of lead type. “It can do everything but produce lyrics,” the proud new owners announced.

Rollie column

Rollie Atkinson

Such a historic moment has come again to this newspaper.  Unfortunately, a virus, a changed local economy and the loss of too many newspaper readers to Facebook, Google and elsewhere has put this newspaper on unsustainable footing.

We have been detailing in recent weeks our plan to “pivot to digital.” The same dedicated team of journalists will continue to cover all the Cloverdale city council decisions, local school re-openings, business community challenges, socially-distanced gatherings, hopefully future community celebrations and more stories about local people.

How long we can continue to do this depends on you. We need your financial support and we need it now.

We will now be delivering the local news on our website, daily e-newsletters and sharing it on social media. We are changing from a once-a-week printed newspaper to a daily digital news organization. Our work will meet the highest standards of professional journalism. We will only “print” verified, fact-checked news, clearly labeled opinions and trustworthy information. We will try to be a little entertaining, too. We are still eager to receive your press releases, news tips, comments and suggestions. Our staff remains totally dedicated to our local news mission but we must rely on your willingness to step up and keep the Reveille alive.

The Reveille was first published in 1879. This newspaper has chronicled 141 years of community endeavors, a century of Cloverdale High School graduating classes, routine and controversial votes by the city council, the completion of Lake Sonoma and the Cloverdale Highway 101 bypass. 

Imagine none of those highlights, landmarks and accomplishments ever being recorded for history. Only a newspaper can do that — especially one dedicated to a local place and its people.

So now what? The ultimate fate of the Cloverdale Reveille is the responsibility of its owners, me and my wife Sarah Bradbury. Journalism has always been hard work, both for us and for conscientious readers. The best news comes from conversations and storytelling. We are grateful for so many of you who have joined us here on these pages for so many years.

We must now move into the future where people prefer instant communication and digital convenience. Faithful newsprint followers must now follow us on our websites, social media feed and daily e-newsletters. Give it a try and you will find much more Cloverdale news than you will find anywhere else.

Real news, the kind that can inform, educate and make a difference is not free. Our basic reader and web access fee is just $5 a month, or $60 a year. But we need more support than just this basic amount.

As we previously announced, we are converting the ownership of this news organization to a new nonprofit we helped found, Sonoma County Local News Initiative. The nonprofit is now open for business and accepting tax-deductible donations and other support.

None of us want to abandon print forever. We will continue to print special local news reports, community event and local festival programs and publications dedicated to promoting local businesses. Please support us in our community mission. Thank you.


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