Hard times for the Muslim Link

Editor's Note
As many of you know, the Muslim Link is a non-profit newspaper that has been serving the greater Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas for the past 10 years.

Alhumdulillah, we’ve been blessed with strong growth and supportive readers. Many of you also donate to the paper. Donations help us reduce our operational deficit, since advertising revenue alone does not meet our expenses. Most newspapers in the United States do not run solely on advertising revenue, but instead rely on investors and supplemental income streams to continue operation.

Hundreds of print papers across the country are downsizing due to decreased advertising revenue coming from a shift from print advertising to online advertising; this loss of advertising is happening even faster as the US economy continues shrinking and businesses reduce advertising budgets.

Print papers are also downsizing – and in many cases shutting down completely – due to decreased readership.

At the Muslim Link, we’ve been operating with a deficit since we started. However, as we’ve grown, so has our deficit. Currently, after advertising revenue and donations, we are losing over $5,000 per month. This amount is not sustainable for us.

Making cuts to what we offer to the community is very difficult. We feel everything we offer to the community is valuable: community news, world news, civil rights analysis, events listings, real estate listings for homes near area masajid, dining reviews, business spotlights, recipes, and crossword puzzles and other content.

Unfortunately, we have to cut some of our content from the print edition to lower our printing cost. Our annual print cost is almost $100,000.

As of this issue, we will be cutting the realty listings from the Marketplace section. Cooking with Sister Heather will be moved online. The masjid classes section will also be cut from the Marketplace section and moved online.

In the main section, we’ll be force to reduce pages – also to reduce our printing costs. Reducing pages means less content. Our aim is not to cut our local news coverage, which is central to the mission of the Muslim Link. We may have to reduce our  world press coverage and civil rights coverage. If we do have to cut those sections, we will post them online instead, insha’Allah.

Lastly, we will be reviewing our distribution points and – at a minimum -- cut locations that receive low numbers of papers. If you pick up your copy of the Muslim Link from a local business, you should consider subscribing. The subscription cost only covers postage and handling and is a service to our readers ; the Muslim Link does not make money by selling newspapers. To ensure you get your bi-weekly copy of the Muslim Link, please subscribe. Call 301-982-1020 to subscribe, or mail a check for $3 per issue along with your home address and phone number. For the year (25 issues), the cost is $75. Send your subscription check – payable to the Muslim Link – to: The Muslim Link, attn: subscriptions, 5301 Edgewood Road, College Park MD 20740.

Please keep reading the paper, getting involved, donating, and most importantly make dua for us! We don’t plan on going anywhere, but we have to make adjustments to make sure we serve the community for the long haul, insha’Allah. With Allah’s help and your continued support, we’ll weather the storm together.