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Trent River and New Bern Waterfront

Lately we’ve received a lot of requests to advertise…for free? That’s not how it works.

I’m not sure if people think we are a nonprofit and are funded by grants or private funding or if it’s based on our original mission when New Bern Now was founded during the recession in 2009. At that time, businesses and nonprofits were closing and it was heartbreaking. I did my best to help our community and at that time I paid out of pocket. I’m not wealthy by no means. I did it because I recently retired from the service and had time on my hands. It was a labor of love. It was the worst business decision I ever made. That was then.

This is now…

For the past 13 years, I’ve been covering events — writing, taking pictures, and videos. People send us information via email, and I publish it on, in our magazine, and the Podsquad talks about it on our weekly show at the same time maintaining three social media platforms. Laura Johnson has been by my side as a Special Advisor and magazine distributor.

I don’t have an actual team who meets and helps me publish information or take pictures, manage social media, etc. When I refer to our team, they are people who contribute articles and others who volunteer to be part of our show. Without these special contributors and co-hosts, I would’ve given up a long time ago.

I realized in October, that I couldn’t keep on keeping on without help, so I hired Cyndi Papia, our Media Coordinator. Cyndi is a terrific person and great asset, but I’m still stretched thin, and something has to give. I thought things would get better since Cyndi is now uploading most of the articles for review and helping post on social media.

What’s missing is a steady stream of revenue to be able to pay for an independent contractor, business expenses, and hopefully be able to take on another person to help cover important stories.

When I started NBN, I was told I was wasting my time and I would fail…it was constant for the first three years. The more people said it couldn’t be done, the harder I worked. I’m not stubborn, I’m determined.

Over the years, the community rallied around New Bern Now and embraced it as their own. The articles and event information started coming in. Now we have a steady stream of valuable information, but we are missing key coverage areas like local government and issues that impact the lives of local residents on a daily basis. Without covering local government, there is no accountability.

With that said, let’s talk about what’s news and information vs. advertisements.

There is no charge to share community announcements, public events, local sports scores, articles about arts, history, outdoor recreations, hobbies etc. We would be happy to spread the word because people are looking for things to do and young adults would love to see their team mentioned in a magazine or talked about on the radio.

We get calls, text, emails, tagged on social media, etc., with flyers and people telling us they want to “advertise.” When we bring up the cost, they’re confused.

Event organizers spend months planning, recruiting volunteers, and raising money for supplies, event venues, and who knows what. And how do they market and advertise the event? They send us a flyer. Some flyers have a big picture with the event name, date, time, and location. Readers have no idea what the event is about. And if you don’t know, flyers that are uploaded to the Internet as images are NOT searchable via Google or other search engines, so we don’t publish them.

What is the difference between marketing and advertising? According to the American Marketing Association’s website, “In basic terms, marketing is the process of identifying customer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. In contrast, advertising is the exercise of promoting a company and its products or services through paid channels…

New Bern Now is a registered with the State under NC Life Media, LLC. We no longer do “everything for free.” I do want to make it clear that we have not accepted advertorials. If our policy changes, we will be sure to label them as such. We don’t want to blur the lines between a story or a paid article. We want you to know what you’re reading is true and we are not being paid or influenced in any way. That’s what an independent news outlet is.

We are a multimedia small business that reaches approx. 80,000+ per month thru online content, audio (podcasts), video (YouTube), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), daily news email, and print. Consider advertising with us and we would be happy to talk about different options for you to get the best return on investment.

So, when we hear people say, support local small businesses, that’s us. We are also a veteran-owned, woman-owned business.

Consider joining our team by becoming a correspondent, co-host, or advisor. New Bern Now exists for the betterment of our community.

Special thank you to everyone who has supported NBN by paying a small subscription fee. You can do the same by subscribing below.

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By Wendy Card