The author poses with page proofs from a previous 'Independent' issue, in pre-pandemic days. | Credit: Sarah Sinclair

I am one of the luckiest people I know. 

Almost every day for the past 30 years, I’ve been able to brag that I have the best job in the best place in the world. 

Local newspapers are reflections of, and sounding boards for, their citizens. We connect you with the organizations, people, and causes that make our communities special.

I moved to Santa Barbara in 1981 to attend UCSB. My first job, straight after graduation, was at “the other” local newspaper. From day One, I was proud to support journalists. They keep the powerful in check, our citizens informed, and our readers entertained.

I loved it for more than 20 years, working my way up from taking classified ads on the telephone to helping set company policies as the advertising director. 

It was great until it wasn’t great anymore. Along with a lot of my colleagues that many of you likely know by first name — Barney, Jerry, Starshine, and more — I stayed until I couldn’t, and in January 2007 I left.

Several years later, I landed at the Independent, where I was reminded that this noble work can be done in a collaborative environment where the staff are treated with respect and journalistic ethics are uncompromised.

These days, in addition to my byline on our real estate pages, my “real job” at the Indy is to make sure we bring in enough money to keep the lights on, our reporters fed, and the company moving strongly forward. 

Until the coronavirus hit, advertising revenue was enough. But the effect of the pandemic has changed that overnight.

Newspapers have had competitive challenges for years. At the Independent, our not-so-secret advantage is that advertising in our pages works. Our ad messages help arts organizations fill theater seats, bring visitors to realtors’ open houses, and help businesses reach more customers. Our advertising clients know this firsthand, and we appreciate every one of them.

But the pandemic means that theaters are shuttered and many businesses are struggling. Our income has taken a nosedive at this time when the community needs us the most.

The stories that our reporters need to tell today are more crucial than ever. The Independent is the only news organization in town doing that work with fervor and the experience, passion, and integrity you can trust. You need us to continue to question our elected officials, analyze the latest developments, and probe what needs to be done next.

You need good journalism more than ever, and we need more than our advertising revenues to stay afloat.

If you value the things you learn in the Santa Barbara Independent — from daily news briefs to in-depth analyses of topics that affect your life, health, and livelihood — please subscribe to If you’re able to make a larger contribution, consider the options below. Our newspaper will always be free in print, and breaking news will always be free online. Your additional support will help sustain us and help us keep that promise.

We’re in this for the long haul. We want to be here when we’re on the other side of this — to play our role in rebuilding and to help create our new normal — so that together, we can all appreciate how lucky we are.

Thank you for reading and for caring.

Sarah Sinclair
Advertising Director
Santa Barbara Independent 

How to Give

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  3. Make a tax-deductible donation, to support environmental and social-justice journalism, of $100 or more by sending checks payable to SBCAN (memo: Journalism Fund) mailed to: 

PO Box 6174
Santa Maria, CA 93456
Or at

Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose Tax ID is 73-1676916.

Subscriptions or contributions made directly to the Santa Barbara Independent are not tax-deductible. We can accept checks mailed to 12 E. Figueroa St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor.  Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you  in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.


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