Dear reader, we need you

This appeal is not one taken lightly, and we certainly never thought the, Hays Free Press, News-Dispatch and Barton Publications would be calling on our readers and supporters, but …

We need your help.

Like so many businesses, we have been hit terribly by the coronavirus crisis. Local businesses – advertisers –
have shut down and laid-off employees.

But as an independent news organization, owned and operated by the Barton family and staff members, we feel that we cannot cut off the news. We cannot take down our website. We cannot quit publishing.

That’s because local COVID-19 news and information is critical right now. We are bringing you news about other businesses, about infection rates, deaths, new laws, opening back up and staying closed.

In other words, we are fighting for our survival, but we are also fighting to continue to bring the news to you that is affecting your world.

Newspapers are supported mostly by advertising revenue. Subscriptions only cover a portion of the cost of distribution, but not the cost of actual gathering of the news, printing the product and keeping the office open. And advertising revenue has dried up. There’s hardly any left.

Local journalism is incredibly important right now. In just the past month, the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch has done more than 100 articles regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The March 11 edition was the first with those kind of stories, and our coverage has escalated exponentially.

But continuing to provide this coverage costs money.

Thus the quandary. We need money to pay reporters and staff. But the revenue in advertising is going away.

So, if you believe that local news is important, especially now, consider donating to this fund.

We have joined with a 501(c)3 foundation, Local Media Foundation, which is providing funds through your donations to continue to report on COVID-19. We will use these funds to give you even more coverage – whether keeping our reporters in the field, increasing our staff hours, trying to update the website on an even faster basis. It also will provide needed funds to maintain coverage of our governmental entities and what kind of COVID-19 response they are doing, to review what they are doing, to look at how this pandemic is affecting local budgets, local schools and facilities.

But we don’t just want your money. We want to know what other stories you would like to see us cover. We want the feel-good and the not-so-good story ideas. We want to know how this disease is really affecting you. Send ideas to

Because we know that you, the local readers, have great ideas.

So, please, consider joining the cause if you can. This is much like a GoFund me campaign, but it is aimed solely at news COVID coverage and is tax-deductible. Go to

And if you have story ideas, send them to

The Hays Free Press – COVID-19 Local News Fund is a service of and administered by Local Media Foundation, affiliated with Local Media Association. Local Media Foundation, tax ID #36‐4427750, is a Section 501(c)(3) organization and is eligible to accept charitable contributions.

Questions? Feel free to call the office at 512-268-7862. While there will not be someone in the office at all times to answer the phone, you can leave us a message and we’ll get back to you.

So, we thank you in advance for your consideration and contribution. We will get through this together.

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