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Who will pay for the news?

I met Joel Kramer at a seminar called “Who Will Pay for the News?”

Everybody came hoping for some magic, eager to find money for journalism from some wondrous source.

But we already knew who will pay for the news.

The answer is “me.” And also “you.”

The only magic is in our pockets.

I don’t read MinnPost.com — it’s local news, and I’m not a local.

But what happens to MinnPost.com is going to affect the future of local journalism everywhere.

People all over the world are looking at your community and wondering if MinnPost.com is going to succeed.

Why do non-locals like me support MinnPost.com?

Local news, reported by smart, decent, gutsy people, is essential to communities.

It keeps institutions honest. It helps people live healthier, happier lives.

If MinnPost.com can find friends like you, willing to pony up a few bucks every year, other communities will learn how it’s done and do likewise.

I’m willing to bet that there are a thousand of you out there who understand how important you are — how important the very idea of MinnPost.com is — to cough up at least $10. The Harnisch Foundation will match every new contribution up to a total of $10,000 given before June 9, 2009. (MinnPost is applying this match to micro-sponsorships of BrauBlog: $10 for LowBraus, $25 for HighBraus. Details here.)

It’s your community, not mine — but I’m investing in your community’s bold experiment in journalism because it’s a beacon of hope on a bleak business landscape. If you succeed, others will follow. Who will pay for the news? I’ll pay for some. Will you?

Ruth Ann Harnisch is the president of The Harnisch Foundation, which since 1998 has been a catalyst for sustainable social change, funding and implementing innovation in the fields of philanthropy, coaching and journalism. To read her blog, click here.

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