Longevity & Faithfulness
Seeking longevity in a transitory world seems at times a fool’s errand. The NOR has been in continuous print since February 1977 and, during these thirty-six years (the next issue will mark our thirty-seventh anniversary), we’ve seen a good many colleagues and competitors come and go — some bursting onto the scene with grand ambition and deep funding, only to fall with a resounding thud; others seeking merely to present humble alternatives to the “big boys,” arriving quietly and disappearing in the same manner. We mention this not to gloat about being one of the remaining magazines in this fickle market, but because the precariousness of our existence has been ever-present in the back of our minds — we could easily have been, and could easily become, one of the casualties.
Of late that thought has been creeping to the fore. Our existence is more precarious today than at any point in the past two decades. To use a cliché: As soon as we plug up one hole, another one opens up. The hole most recently plugged was that, to our relief, we have reached our fundraising goal of $197,000, set in October 2012. We are exceedingly grateful to those of you who came to our aid, not only with monetary assistance but with prayer. But we’ve had no time to celebrate: Right after our readers’ achievement was announced at our annual board meeting this fall, the other hole presented itself: In the past fiscal year we suffered a nine percent drop in overall readership. While not a hair-raising figure, it is part of a seemingly ineluctable trend that we’ve been able to buck only once in the past decade.
So we’ve had to allocate some of the funds raised during this drive toward advertising, both in print and through direct mail. In the new year we will begin our project of making the NOR available on tablet and e-book platforms, one of the primary purposes for raising these funds. (The other was to offset the inevitable losses we incurred in 2011 and 2012.)
Now we find ourselves in a peculiar situation: We’ve raised money through the generosity of our readers, but at the same time we can’t seem to keep from losing readers. And in this, we’re not alone.
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