The South Dakota news-scape is bursting with new outlets. Former Argus reporters Joe Sneve and Jonathan Ellis have been cranking out The Dakota Scout since the beginning of September. Now former newspaper and SDPB reporter Seth Tupper has launched his South Dakota Searchlight, a project of the national non-profit States Newsroom.
The Scout is printing papers and posting content online behind a paywall. Searchlight is posting its content exclusively online, all for free (and freely quotable), and inviting donations.
Tupper says his time on public radio convinced him that news, a vital function of democracy, can survive on the open-content/donations model:
…I watched in amazement as people sent donations to SDPB’s nonprofit arm, the Friends of SDPB. Having heard newspaper readers complain about paying $1 for a single copy or a few hundred dollars for a year’s subscription, it was astounding to learn about supporters of SDPB voluntarily writing checks with lots of zeros.
It further convinced me of something I’d been reading and thinking about for several years: that the nonprofit model is a big part of journalism’s future. As the internet continues to eat away at the subscriptions and advertising that support for-profit journalism, and as threats to democracy highlight the importance of journalism to a free society, it makes sense to view journalism in a new way: as a public good, worthy of support from those who appreciate it [Seth Tupper, “Shining a New Light on South Dakota,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2022.10.25].
Joining Tupper in his journalistic venture are former Argusians John Hult and Makenzie Huber and fellow former SDPBian Joshua Haiar.