If you ask me where the name Moonshine Ink comes from, the answers will vary, depending on the day. But a favorite of mine is its allusion to the inimitable way moonlight illuminates our landscape, especially a rolling field of granite in high elevations. There’s nothing quite like it.
Shedding light is also what we aim to do with the newspaper, on the entire community. We do this through stories, from investigative reporting to business announcements, from heartwarming profiles to breathtaking adventure travelogues. There are many reasons why we do this work, but I dare say I can speak for all journalists when I state we come to this job because we believe it allows us to know ourselves, and to
know is to love. Only when you intimately understand, will you care and protect.
“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution — more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.”
~ Lisa Cron, Wired for Story
As we wrap up a year that thwacked and smacked us some good ones, it’s tempting to reflect on all the problems in the world. We do that here in Tahoe/Truckee, too. It can be a long list if you let it: growing COVID cases, struggling businesses, the housing crisis, the changing climate, disrespectful tourists, shrinking communities, short-term rentals …
A more productive exercise would be to consider what vision you have for the community. I, for one, strive toward manifesting a future in which we consider the health and wellbeing of our neighbors, where we have people — residents and visitors alike — who respect the land, the animals, and each other; one with children growing up and elderly to remind us where we’ve been; with local businesses that are supported, and in turn can back the needs of others.
In other words, we have to seek out those things that make us want to “hang on to” Tahoe/Truckee. To be that community, we must know ourselves. Moonshine Ink hopes it plays a role in cultivating that knowing.
Yet the newspaper industry is struggling. Probably not news to you, but were you aware that since the recession of 2008/09 hit, American newspaper jobs have fallen 51%? And that at least 60 local newsrooms have shuttered since March, some of them more than a century old?
The severe loss of advertising revenue to the digital giants and an overriding sense that information can and should be free has sent small journalism outlets adrift. The crisis is about more than a business model going belly-up — it’s about the crucial foundation of knowing your community, government, country.
To support the vital role newspapers play, the philanthropic model, like our membership campaign, surfaces more frequently these days. The New York Times wrote in a recent newsletter, “Americans have long accepted that the arts, higher education and organized religion all depend on charitable giving. Local journalism is now in the same category.”
Our membership campaign has now been running for a year. Through 397 donors, we’ve received $55,420 — what a lifeline in these tough times! But we need a larger percentage of readers to let us know that Moonshine is part of their vision for Tahoe/Truckee.
This is giving in the spirit of the season, but it’s not charity: We ask you to invest in the future of an informed and thoughtful Tahoe/Truckee community. We ask you to trust us to keep the region engaged, thinking critically, and smart.
Will we remain Tahoe’s independent news source? It’s up to you.
~ Mayumi Elegado, publisher/co-founder of the Ink, regularly howls at the moon.
Visit moonshineink.com/members/moonshine-ink-members/ to see a full list of members.
- Since the recession of 2008/09, American newspaper jobs have fallen 51%
- At least 60 local newsrooms across the U.S. have shuttered since March, some of them more than a century old
- 18 years in business
216 print editions published
16 first-place awards in National Newspaper Association contests
“I decided to join Moonshine’s membership program because local independent journalism makes me a more informed citizen. After a decade of being a second homeowner, I only knew Tahoe at a surface level. When I moved up here full time a couple of years ago, I wanted to gain a deeper sense of place. Early on, I happened to read an edition of Moonshine Ink from cover to cover while enjoying several cups of coffee. I discovered a treasure trove of businesses I wanted to patronize, local issues I wanted to investigate further, and a tangled web of governments and nonprofits striving to protect Tahoe’s character. For a recent arrival, it was all a bit daunting. I found myself taking notes and visiting websites to learn more. Each issue gave me something else to learn and explore, helping form the sense of place that was never quite attained in the Bay Area.”
~ Warrior Michael Witherspoon, Truckee
“I feel Moonshine Ink is crucial to a growing Truckee/Tahoe region. Its investigative reporting educates us about community issues that are difficult to know about otherwise. There is also a great mix of articles — news briefs to keep you in the know, stories about our history, opinions written by community members, features on nature, fitness, and local businesses. And did I mention that the writing makes you want to read the articles because it is so interesting? I also really like all the local advertisements as they help me know where I can find the services and products I need. Cartoons? The best because they address life in Truckee/Tahoe.”
~ Sustainer Vivian Euzent, Sunnyvale/Truckee
~ Sustainer Daisy Melen, Truckee
~ Sustainer Laura Mader, Truckee