Newspaper's Point Is Made in Blank Front Page

Small 'Northeast News' of Kansas City gets some financial help
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2021 2:44 PM CDT
Newspaper's Point Is Made in Blank Front Page
Copies of the March 24 edition of the Northeast News. The front page is blank.   (The Northeast News via AP)

Stories are back on the cover of Kansas City’s Northeast News this week after the newspaper printed a blank front page to show community members what they'd miss if the newspaper folded, per the AP. In the past week, the 89-year-old newspaper has received more than $3,000 in pledged donations, including one from Florida after the blank front page received national attention. A handful of new advertisers have emerged, along with other ideas to keep the Northeast News afloat, said Michael Bushnell, publisher and co-owner. “We never expected this to blow up like it did,” Bushnell said. “In the end, thank God it did.” The idea for the blank page was cooked up in a staff meeting, coupled with a decision not to post any news online or answer office phones for 24 hours.

Bushnell was inundated with texts and calls when the paper was distributed last week: “Are you aware there's nothing on the front page?” “Your printer might have made a mistake.” He directed friends to open the paper, where managing editor Abby Hoover's column explained why it was done. Because of the pandemic, two local laundromats, a grocery store, and a charter school had stopped advertising, making $2,700 in monthly revenue vanish. Without any changes, the paper had about a 60-day lifespan, she wrote. The big-city Kansas City Star has its own economic worries, and Northeast News staffers usually only see Star reporters on the scene of a murder or bad accident. No one else takes the day-to-day pulse of the neighborhood, Hoover said in an interview. “People kind of take for granted what community news does,” she said.

(More newspapers stories.)

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