Over 200 readers are now Berkeleyside investors; there’s room for more

Residents of Berkeley and the immediate area have proved to be engaged readers, and investors in, their local news site. Photo: Joe Parks

Berkeleyside readers may be among the most engaged in the country. It was recently reported that The New York Times employs 14 full- and part-time people to moderate the 12,000 comments it receives on its digital publication every day. Berkeleyside does not receive that many comments — clearly — but a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that, in fact, our readers are three to four times more likely to provide a comment than New York Times readers. (How we worked that out: We averaged 173 comments per day for the last 30 days. Some days we moderate up to 500 a day. The digital New York Times gets 70 times the number of comments we get, but they have 260 times our readership.)

That phenomenal reader engagement takes other forms. Berkeleyside has more than 1,000 members — readers who voluntarily make contributions, from $5 a month through several hundred dollars a year — to support their local news site.

And, in the months since we launched our pioneering direct public offering — the first news organization in the country to invite its readers to directly invest in their community news source — more than 200 readers have become investors.

Through that investment, Berkeleyside has raised nearly $550,000 — funds that have already borne fruit with improved monthly advertising revenues and enhanced reporting. Many people have invested at the $1,000 level – the minimum – while others have invested anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000.


But we have not yet reached our goal: to raise $800,000 to invest in Berkeleyside’s long-term sustainability. So we need your help. Please consider investing today.

Why become an investor in Berkeleyside?

Why become an investor? Hear what some of our 200-plus investors have to say about why they wanted to participate in our Direct Public Offering:

Debra Farb and Eric Sippel: “By investing in Berkeleyside, we are investing in our community. In these times, it is critical that we support our free, independent and local press to continue to reinforce our democratic institutions and values and allow Berkeley to continue to thrive.”

Charles and Elizabeth Farnsworth: “We invested in Berkeleyside because we think strong local reporting deserves support. Berkeley needs more journalism like the excellent April 17, 2017, story, Who exactly was it that turned Berkeley into a battlefield? written by Frances Dinkelspiel and Natalie Orenstein. To produce work like that takes money, and that’s what Berkeleyside needs now. We urge you to invest — as we did.”

Paula Hughmanick and Steven Berger: “We are both excited to be participating in your wonderful journalistic adventure. It would be fabulous if this could spawn similar efforts around the country. With all of the fake news stories, having reliable, local news from local reporters is more critical than ever.”

Mike and Teresa Olson: “Berkeleyside is bringing smart, local journalism into the digital age. It covers the whole city — business, politics, food, the arts, the university and more — with reporting on events as they happen. It’s a place where residents can talk back, engaging with the paper and with one another. It is, quite simply, wonderful! It’s fitting that the Berkeleyside team is innovative in its business model, too. The Direct Public Offering allowed us to take a financial stake in Berkeleyside. We’re proud to support the company and pleased that our investment is funding a sustainable business doing such great work.”

Support high-quality journalism

Berkeleyside reporters were on scene live-covering a Patriots Day demonstration, in Berkeley, on Saturday, April 15, 2017. Photo: David Yee

Berkeleyside has a small news staff but we don’t let size stop us. Berkeleyside reporters cover City Council and School Board meetings, rush to crime and accident scenes, figure out why those pesky helicopters are circling, and write about the fascinating people who make up the community.

And Berkeleyside is there during times of crisis. We wrote more than 90 stories on the 2015 balcony collapse and its aftermath and have covered the recent violent rallies in Berkeley in depth. We have also examined Berkeley’s housing crisis and its impact.

Berkeleyside gets below the surface of issues. Last June, we devoted an entire day to looking at issues surrounding people experiencing homelessness. Our coverage won us an award from the Northern California chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. Berkeleyside is planning another full-day deep dive into the issue on June 28.

Berkeleyside celebrates the best of Berkeley. In addition to covering news, we are dedicated to highlighting some of our community’s thought leaders, activists and personalities. In just the past few months we have written about the two women who sued to overturn Prop 8; former City Councilman Henry Ramsey Jr.; Berkeley shoemaker Thomas Wandall; Berkeley’s first police chief, August Vollmer, and the amazing story of his missing badge.

It’s these kinds of stories, as well as Berkeleyside’s watchdog role, that has spurred over 200 of your fellow readers. Why not think about joining them as Berkeleyside investors? (If investing is not for you, consider becoming a Berkeleyside member.)

Learn more about how a direct public offering works and sign up to become a founding investor at Invest.Berkeleyside.com. Or contact us directly at invest@berkeleyside.com or tel: 510-671 0380. 

This is not an offer to sell any securities. Offers to sell are made only pursuant to authorized offering materials. The offering is limited to California residents that meet certain suitability requirements. You must verify that you are a California resident in order to receive the authorized offering materials, and you must verify that you meet the suitability requirements in order to subscribe for the securities. 

Related:
With 158 investors Berkeleyside hits half-way goal on DPO (01.05.17) 
Invest in independent journalism in Berkeley (and help us reach our year-end goal) 12.27.16 
105 readers are now Berkeleyside shareholders. Will you join them? (12.14.16)
A new goal as readers step up to invest in Berkeleyside (11.30.16)
If there’s a time to support journalism it’s now (11.10.16)
An invitation to our readers: Invest in Berkeleyside, help ensure the future of an independent press in Berkeley (11.03.16)