9 Membership-powered local news sites

Someone holding bright newspaper

The 24-hour news cycle can make it feel like we are living in a world of too much current affairs coverage. However, this bombardment of news is often curated and only focuses on international trends or solely on the interests of those living in a select few coastal metropolises.

That’s why local news is so important, its hyper-focus on what matters to the people living around you. As media site Poytner recently shared, the purpose of local is to see, know, care about and understand your community.

In a survey conducted by the Pew Research group, 71% of Americans said that they believe that their local news outlets are doing “very or somewhat well financially.” Unfortunately for most local news media outlets this sunny outlook simply isn't true.

Advertising revenue has dried up and is often funneled into social media and online streams and as most Americans are unwilling to pay the same premium prices for local news subscriptions as they would for national newspapers, sales are dwindling.

However, there is some good news among all this doom and gloom, membership-based media models are making it possible for sites to stay live offering local news, opinions, and voices to reach the communities which they serve. Here are some of our favorite membership-supported local news sites.

The Berkshire Edge

The Berkshire Edge covers a rural region in the mountains of western Massachusetts. Members receive local news, obituaries, arts and entertainment coverage, opinion articles and a robust real estate section to peruse.

Your membership fee helps to pay non-biased journalists to fairly and accurately report on the day's news as well as advertising opportunities for local Berkshire non-profit organizations.

The Morning News

The Morning News provides agenda-free reporting on everything from breaking news stories to commentary, investigative long-form journalism and weird and wonderful stories from around the world and the web.

Your support also helps to continue their long-running “Tournament of Books” competition to crown the best in non-fiction as well as regular reader book challenges and a newsletter of events.

The Tyler Loop

The Tyler Loop provides East Texans with reader powered news on what matters to them in their local community. A membership fee of $15 a month prevents annoying pop-up ads and keeps the content open to everyone without secure sections or paywalls.

The Tyler Loop is all about local in-depth journalism and storytelling and the support of the community makes it possible for them to bring the stories of Tyler to the people.

City Bureau

Starting at $8 a month, regular contributors to the membership program of the Southside of Chicago’s City Bureau become Press Club members. This gives local people access to provide feedback on stories and events and be involved in workshops and projects right from their inception.

Silver and Gold members also receive swag merchandise and exclusive invites to special events.

Levittown Now

This community newspaper serves the Bristol (Borough & Township), Falls, Hulmeville, Langhorne, Penndel, Middletown, and Tullytown neighborhoods. The “In The Know” membership-based club has access to breaking local news alerts directly to their cell phones, so they never miss a story.

They are also able to contribute to local events, enter competitions and ask reporters questions.

Good Morning Wilton

Good Morning Wilton provides local reporting to this tight-knit Connecticut community.

As well as all the local news and events coverage of the day, “Neighbor” and “Warrior” membership levels include the opportunity to meet with local officials and VIPs, as well as being entered into monthly draws to win prizes from local businesses and vendors.

Richland Source

Servicing Richland, in North Central Ohio, the Source provides local news to the community.

Members receive discounts at over 30 local businesses, invitations to attend local meetups, seminars and events, and the opportunity to discuss real local news with journalists.

My Edmonds News

Your membership helps to fund the reporters, photographers and columnists that bring the news and events of Edmonds, Washington to print in this longest-running, Edmonds-based community news source.

There are four different membership rates ranging from $5-$30 a month in categories from supporter to benefactor.

Q City Metro

Q City Metro delivers the stories that matter to Charlotte's African American community. Supporters receive discounts at local businesses and invites to exclusive events as well as staying abreast of all that matters in Charlotte.

There is also a members-only community chat room forum where neighbors can discuss local events and news.