Dear Loving Reader,
The Nicaragua Dispatch yearns for your amorous embrace this Valentine’s Day. More than 60 of you have already shown your affection by donating generously to our 2013 fund drive, helping us get 33% toward our goal. Thank you all. The uxorious feelings are mutual.
But we need more of you to join the lovefest. If each reader who visited our website yesterday gave only $10—less than the cost of a heart-shaped box of chocolates—we would easily surpass our goal and could avoid having this uncomfortable conversation again for another year.
The journalism industry, for those of you who are just waking up from a 10-year slumber, is in horrible shape. Actually, it’s worse than that—it’s embarrassing, disappointing and profoundly sad; it’s like watching a loved one fall into the clutches of a heroin addiction.
Last week, two of the mainstream publications I write for in the U.S. told me that they are closing their Latin America bureaus at the end of the month. And they were the ones that held out the longest. The others cut and run years ago.
Sadder yet, there is a feeling of permanence about the collapse. A few years ago, the media industry talked about temporary cutbacks until things turned around. But since then, things have only turned downward.
One of my former Latin America editors in the U.S. told me, upon getting laid off recently, that the top editors of his publication “have long considered Latin America a geopolitical inconvenience.” That’s a sad statement, but they aren’t alone. In the 1980s, there were 250 foreign correspondents based in Managua alone. Now you can count us on one hand, even if you’re missing a few fingers.
Once Latin America stopped acting like such a violent and maladjusted basket case, the U.S. media started to lose interest in the region. Ironically, now the media industry is more of a maladjusted basket case than Latin America.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. While the trend is bad, Nicaragua has been bucking trends for years. And thanks to what investors call Nicaragua’s “competitive edge” (i.e. an exploited and underpaid local labor force—or, in this case, me), The Nicaragua Dispatch is uniquely positioned for success.
But to keep the free press going, we gotta make enough scratch to eat or live. With your help, Stalwart Reader, we can continue this truly independent media project that is sharing Nicaragua with the world and building a diverse community online.
Nicaragua is a wonderfully complex and bewitching country—a lover you can’t get out of your mind, no matter how many Toñas you drink. But Valentine’s Day isn’t a day to forget lovers, it’s a day to celebrate them.
So show us some love. Will you be our Valentine?
Or donate through our crowd-funding page here