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Bucking The System

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AGENDA is five years oíd this month! Some of you, I'm sure, are stunned by this news. ín a way, we are too. We never thought the paper would last this long. Although Ann Arbor seems like an ideal place for a progressive periodical like AGENDA to thrive, the truth is, it's been hard just to stay afloat. We knew from the start that AGENDA was an experiment that could - if not nurtured properly - fail. The unfortunate news of this fifth year anniversary is that AGENDA is in danger of failing. This issue of AGENDA could, in fact, be the last one we publish. It takes bucks to buck the system, and AGENDA needs more money. That is why we are taking this unusual step to appeal to you for direct financia! support. AGENDA owes the printer about $9,000 and needs to come up with some immediate cash to keep the presses rolling. If you want to see AGENDA continue to provide this área with an altemative to the commercial press, now is the time to send us some money. Given the newspaper's progressive perspective, we knew from day one that advertising would be hard to sell and that readers would have to bear some of the costs. And you have. In 1990, AGENDA received about $7,500 in subscriptions and donations. Yet, it was notenough. We feil short ofour printing bilí - our largest single expense - by about$5,000 last year ($4,000 in 1989). In other words, even after AGENDA raised $29,000 in advertising revenues and another $7,500 in donations, we fell $5,000 short of paying our bilis in 1990. That was pretty close. And 1990 was a very tough year to be in business. Due to increased competition and the recession, AGENDA'S advertising sales - after rising steadily for four years - actually declined slightly in 1990. In the long term we expect this will turn around. AGENDA's growth will resume and the publication will soon reach a break even point. However, the present predicament is painful; without cash in the short term, AGENDA's certain future recovery will never have a chance. AGENDA's best hope lies in the thousands of readers who piek up the paper regularly and appreciate the f unction it serves - the readers who are not aware that AGENDA is slowly going broke. If you fit the description, ask yourself: Do you want to continue reading articles with headlines like "Kicking Ass For Gas" or "Ignorance is Strength"? Are you willing to subsidize something you've been able to get for free? From the responses these articles alone haveprovoked, the ans wer should be a resounding yes! There are many ways to get news and information in this town - a daily news-=paper, a weekly newspaper, and three monthlies. But no other publication around prints the kind of news and information that AGENDA does. For five years we have made the munity bulletin board of activities and ideas, opinions and editorials, a forum for debate and dialogue on the issues of the day. Consider AGENDA'S news and ture anieles. Most of them are written by people living in the area who want to share their knowledge and research and perspective with the community. The readership of AGENDA should be supportive of these efforts. They are truly extraordinary. Local writers like Barbara Ransby , Lois Huff, Eric Jackson, Dan Clark, Jeff Alson, Catherine Fisher, Ken Garber, Stephanie Harrell, John Carlos Cantu, Andrea Walsh, Jeff Gearhart, Alan Wald, Mark Weisbrot, Phillis Engelbert, and John Vandermeer deserve your gratitude. They, and others like them to come, are attheheartofwhat AGENDA does best - provide a forum for voices that would otherwise not be heard. One of the best things about Ann Arbor being a college town is that its lecture circuit attracts great thinkers from all over the world. In the last five years we have printed unabridged talks by such progressive luminaries as Nobel Peace Prize lauréate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, poet Margaret Randall, journalist Alexander Cockbum, hunger activist Francés Moore Lappe, linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky, baby-doctor Benjamin Spock, Israeli peace activist Yigal Arens, and most recently, media watchdog Martin Lee. We can't take credit for their thoughts. But we deserve credit for being the only publication in town smart enough to realize the power of a tape recorder, and daring enough to challenge readers with lengthy transcriptions. And then there is AGENDA's continuedcoverage of Central America. Fromour first issue, we have feit an obligation to focus your attention on the often disturbing happenings in Central America. Many Ann Arborites have travelled to the región and they have provided a constant stream of reliable eyewitness accounts for AGENDA readers. We are also proud to publish regular dispatches from Jon Reed, a Minneapolisbased writer who roams the región exposing AGENDA readers to a viewpoint you can't find in the commercial press. And we are not afraid to voice our This willingness to examine and question U.S. government policy, even when it is painful and impopular, is AGENDA'S idea of responsible journalism. ! 1 Operation Buck the System! ■ Do your part to support the alternative press! SIgn up now! 1 _- ffT I C$12- T-shirtonly! (circle one: M or L or XL) 55lVfï - J a $15- One-year subscription! (U.S. only) Ln _.WCjl" l a $25- One-year subscription & a spiffy AGENDA T-shirt! (circle one: M or L or XL) "Tjñ MSÍvÍE $30One-year subscription anywhere in the worid! kSío $35ne-year subscription & TWO tickets to any film at the Michigan Theater! 1 HON1 o $50- One-year subscription & TWO tickets to any play at Performance Network! 00 ' O $1 00- Quarterly listing in AGENDA with other "Sustainers." D Other I I 100% cotton, black on red O Yes, I want to support AGENDA. Amount enclosed $ Send COmpleted form to: AGENDA ! NAME 202 E. Washington #512 AnnArbor, Ml 48104 i CITYSTATEZIP ' O Count me as a subscriber but please DO NOT MAIL my paper. I will piek it up Make check payable to "AGENDA. " Allow PHONE from one of AGENDA's 300 distribution ?4 eecs lor delivery of premiums (make points ! sure to indícate T-shirt size if applicable). opposition to the latest military campaign in the Middle EasL When we consider the toll in human life of this war, terms like murder, and slaughter, and massacre come to mind. We were against it from the start and we hope to continue to print articles that will exposé the aggression as an unnecessary and shameful action. This willingness to examine and question U.S. govemment policy, even when it is painful and unpopular, is AGENDA'S idea of responsible journalism. Finally, AGENDA'S Calendar is the most comprehensive guide to political happenings in the area. The Community Resource Directory has served over 100 grassroots and human service organizations. And, our "Get Involved Guide," a listing of such organizations, periodically has put the whole network right at people's fingertips. The editors of AGENDA choose these stories and regular features based upon their importance to the readership - regardless of the possible effect on advertising revenues. This is what makes AGENDA the only true alternativo source of news and inform at i on in town. Our publishing philosophy, and subsequently our editorial policy, is not held hos tageto a greater economie interest. We are beholden only to the public interest. The question is: is the public interested? If you are involvedwithgrass- roots politics we are especially countingonyouto show y our interest, to recognize that AGENDA is part oftheworkyoudo. We need your support. The role AGENDA plays by systematically publishing grassroots perspectives on issues can no longer afford to go warded. If you belong to one of the hundreds of organizations who use AGENDA regularly to promote your activities, please send us your personal contribution and then go to your next meeting with the following idea: "AGENDA needsourgroup's support. What can our group do? Pass the hat? Have a bake sale?" Put this item on your agenda. Take a vote: Yes or no. Now is the time. We need to hear from you this month! ín case you're not sure if your group uses AGENDA, here is a list of grassroots organizations who listed calendar activities for the month of March: LASC, WAND, Gay Liberation, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Performance Network, A2 Tenants Union, Coalition for Arms Control, Bread for the World, SOUP, Citizens for Peace in the Middle East, AFSC, Brothers, SAUSI, Feminist Women's Union, Homeless Action Committee, Hurón Valley Greens, Women in Black, Peace InSight, Guild House, Women and War, WILPF, Hill Street Cinema, ACT-UP Ann Arbor, NACH, Humane Society of Hurón Valley, Washtenaw Citizen's for Animal Rights, LAGROC, Jewish Learning Center, ACCESS, Concerned Chelsea Área Citizens, Hillel, Amnesty International Group 61, People Dancing, Ann Arbor Democratie Socialists of America, NOW, Jewish nist Group, Hurón Valley Community Church, Coalition for a Just Peace in the Gulf, and Hurón Regional Alliancc. Rememberas you're reading this month's AGENDA, we will be working on the May issue. We will be processing hundreds of calendar enfries. We will be assigning stories to our volunteer reporters. We will be reading and editing news and feature manuscripts.' We will be pounding the pavement in search of advertising dollars. We will be designing pages and pasting them up to take to the printer. Will we ever get there? Will 20,000 copies of AGENDA show up on the streets come May 1 ? U's up to you. This is what makes AGENDA the only true alternative source of news and information in town. Our publishing philosophy, and subsequently our editorial poHcy, is not held hostage to a greater economie interest. We are beholden only to the public interest. The question is: is the public interested?


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