(CMR) Cayman News Service is encouraging its readers to provide monetary tips in order to keep the website going. The tip box page was recently set up and highlights the global and ever-changing face of news outlets around the world.
Apparently, Cayman is no exception to the slew of newspapers and television stations that have disappeared – being replaced by online news forums. CNS was revolutionary ten years ago when it emerged as the only local online news platform at the time. For many years it enjoyed an online dominance for local news.
However, they have now admitted to struggling financially and are requesting contributions to keep the news site going.
The tip request box pops up at the homepage of the website and then redirects people to another page that explains why CNS is looking for financial support from its readers.
The first paragraph explains the hardships of being in newsmedia in the Cayman Islands and admits that in the past ten years they have gained both fans and detractors:
Some people loathe CNS and want us to disappear forever, including several (all?) politicians, possibly some senior public servants and prominent business leaders, as well as people who just disagree with the things that we stand for. But thankfully, some people love us. Either way, for the last ten years we have done our level best to report the news as we find it, without fear or favour, and as accurately as we possibly can.CNS explains the need for tips
They go onto share that “while our news is free to read, it's not free to produce.” They explain that they have no office and try to leave a basic lifestyle but still have expenses to pay.
We don’t have a flashy office (actually no office at all), we don’t drive fancy cars and you probably won’t find us at the Ritz. But sadly, we still need to live and pay our bills.
A day after local TV station Cayman 27 announced they would be shutting down for good after 27-years CNS admits that a number of factors have impacted their ability to generate revenue including global advertising competitors such as Google.
They also explain that unlike print media such as the Compass and Caymanian Times they are not able to benefit from job adverts seeking work permit holders. Interestingly enough, that aspect of advertising revenue is expected to dry up shortly when the mandatory WORC job portal launches.
They also admit to having to compete with news on social media but question the objectively of those sources; in particular, government-sponsored Facebook pages.
They end by pledging their allegiance to no one – stressing that they are completely politically independent and would be happy to post the information on all donors over KYD$1,000.00.
The Compass was purchased in February by local business owner and attorney, James Bergstrom after it had fallen out of favor with many Caymanians under the ownership of David Legge. They are expected to have a transition in the next month. CMR understands that a new editor with a magazine background is going to be making some sweeping changes in the coming months. Apparently the Compass has been doing surveys trying to figure out why they have feel out of favor with readers.
The emergence of Cayman Marl Road has also played a small role in the changing of the guards of local news media. The strain has been obvious by other news outlets not wanting to admit that CMR is a fully-fledged news site but instead referring to it as a “blog”. Whatever, the terminology used CMR has dominated the social media space since it's exception two years ago.
CMR has always maintained that news is their passion and not their paycheck and only recently re-launched the platform to allow for advertisings to come onboard.
The United States has lost almost 1,800 papers since 2004, including more than 60 dailies and 1,700 weeklies. Roughly half of the remaining 7,112 in the country – 1,283 dailies and 5,829 weeklies – are located in small and rural communities. The vast majority – around 5,500 – have a circulation of less than 15,000.