Iowa newspaper raises funds via social media to pay off legal fees
A small western Iowa newspaper has turned to social media to help raise funds to pay off its legal bills, incurred in defending the local newspaper’s journalism, reports The Gazette.
As of Thursday evening, the Carroll Times Herald had raised $46,617 of its $140,000 goal from more than 1,300 donors.
Douglas Burns, the co-owner of the newspaper and its vice president of news said, “To see the support not just from Iowa but from across the U.S. is really heartening and humbling. I’m going to make certain that the dollars that people have contributed go to support the continuation of robust reporting, to make sure that we do accountability reporting, that we do government watchdog reporting, that we do strong enterprise reporting and that we make sure our part of rural Iowa does not become a news desert-like far too many parts of the country.”
Although Carroll Times Herald won the lawsuit, the $140,000 in legal expenses was not covered by libel insurance, plus revenue lost from advertisers and subscribers was another thing. “I knew we had the story locked down,” Burns said. “I knew that Jared’s reporting was airtight and solid, and I thought we had a responsibility to the community to continue with the case and stand by our story.”
During and after reporting the story, Burns said he found himself on the receiving end of a “mixed bag” of community responses.