After you shop small, try subscribing local

Published 10:47 am Saturday, November 30, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Everyone is familiar with Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. But there’s a day in the middle of all the post-Thanksgiving de facto holidays that doesn’t yet have a moniker in widespread use.

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We’d like to name it Subscribe Sunday: A day when people choose to support good journalism by subscribing (or renewing their subscriptions) to newspapers.

Subscribe Sunday isn’t our idea — the Boston Globe came up with it — but we’re 100% on-board. The hashtag #SubscribeSunday is already flying around on social media in advance of the inaugural Subscribe Sunday on Dec. 1.

This is a perilous time for journalism. Fewer people are supporting their newspapers, even though more than ever are reading the news. Many don’t understand the vital role the “fourth estate” plays in ensuring we remain free. Fewer still understand the benefits gained by communities that have a local newspaper.

There are many countries that don’t have a free press. Some of the worst include Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Libya, Yemen and the Sudan, according to the 2019 Worldwide Press Freedom Index. You won’t find many citizens of these countries splurging on Black Friday or choosing their favorite charities on Giving Tuesday — they have bigger things to worry about, like living in authoritarian states where they’re told how to behave and they have no say over how their government is run.

People in the U.S. are free because our governmental model — representative democracy — is so much better at maintaining order while allowing individual choice. But maintaining the system requires transparency and an informed population. Without those two ingredients, which newspapers provide, it would be too easy for the country to backslide into authoritarianism.

But newspapers aren’t just a bulwark against such an existential threat; newspapers — particularly community newspapers — also help the communities they serve thrive.

Papers like The Advocate-Messenger keep local government officials honest; tell local stories that help the community celebrate its identity; and give local business an important path to let people know what they’re doing through advertising.

Communities that have a local newspaper spend less on and get better results from their government. Communities that have a local newspaper are communities where neighbors know each other better. Communities that have a local newspaper are better informed and so better prepared to tackle the challenges that face them.

Subscribe Sunday makes a lot of sense. If you love the country that allows you to celebrate so many different days however you choose, why not support the institutions that help protect that way of life and help you get the most out of it?

You can subscribe to The Advocate-Messenger this Sunday by visiting our website,, and clicking the “Subscribe” button in the top left corner. You can subscribe to the physical paper — or get our online e-edition for $10 a month. We think subscribing to your paper is one of the best deals you’ll ever find.