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.
(Read more newspapers