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Vote Early and Vote Often: The Economic Realities of the Times

For more than two and half years, the Germantown Pulse has been bringing readers local news and information for the Germantown area. Hyper-local news written by local reporters for the benefit of local readers.

As many of you know, the Germantown Pulse is an independent entity. The Pulse is not owned by a corporation or media conglomerate. It is a small business, a privately owned L.L.C. The Pulse is your neighbor, working to bring neighborhood news to you. It is me, Kevin O’Rourke.

But, what you may not know is that The Pulse has just one full-time employee, Kevin O’Rourke. I report, write, edit, update social media, take photos, edit photos, update the website, design the website, reply to reader questions, and sell the ads. There is just not enough hours in the week for one person to cover the news and sports to the level desired and sell enough advertising to keep this company moving forward. I have spent more money on gas to travel to take photos of crime scenes, high school athletic events, and general news assignments than the Pulse has made in advertising revenue since I started it in August of 2014.

The good will of so many people who have made Germantown Pulse a part of their weekly or daily routine a reality can never be repaid. It is at once staggering and inspiring. It has been a labor of love.

When the Pulse started the plan was to create revenue through the sale of advertising, and while we’ve had some a small amount of success selling ads, the economic reality of the times may necessitate a change in business models. There is simply too much news every week for one person to cover, and sell and design enough advertising to make this a profitable concern.

The idea of going to a subscriber based model, where the Pulse would become a sort of closed club, where only paying members could read its content has been considered, but even major news organizations with millions of readers have not had a lot of success with that model. Nobody is in favor of making local news something should behind a pay wall. However, it is still a possibility.

However, there is another way, but it will require your help and your neighbor’s help, and your neighbor’s brother-in-law’s help.

It is The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest.

FedEx will award ten small businesses with grants up to $25,000 and up to $7,500 in FedEx Office print and business services. There will be a total of ten winners: One grand prize winner of $25,000, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office print and business services. One second prize winner of $15,000, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office print and business services, and eight third prize winners of $7,500, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services.

The harsh truth of the economic reality is that even winning the third place $7,500 would dramatically change the way that Germantown Pulse conducts businesses. It would allow us to overhaul the current website, to make it accessible to third-party vendors who could bring additional revenue streams through business directories and advertising networks. It would allow us to purchase equipment, and hire freelance photographers and writers to cover more news and local sports.

In short, it would be a game changer for Germantown Pulse. It would ensure that the Germantown, Clarksburg, and the entire UpCounty will have a place to find out local news about local neighborhoods for many years to come.

And all you have to do is vote online. Every