SAN FRANCISCO — The Nichi Bei Weekly will be published every other week for financial reasons, according to Editor-in-Chief Kenji Taguma.
The Nichi Bei Times, a bilingual daily, closed its doors in 2009 after 63 years. Former staffers of that newspaper launched the Nichi Bei Weekly, retaining the format of the Times’ weekly English section.
The new nonprofit structure enabled the newspaper to solicit donations and hold fundraisers, including Nichi Bei Day with the Oakland A’s and the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival.
In a statement to the readers on April 19, Taguma wrote:
“We regret to inform you that due to the current economic crisis, which has greatly impacted our advertising and sponsorships over the past year, we will immediately switch to a biweekly format after this issue. The next issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly will be dated Thursday, May 3, 2012.
“We will begin to focus more on monthly special issues, and our biweekly regular issues will increase in page count to accommodate two weeks’ worth of news and features. Obituaries will be posted online at www.nichibei.org as soon as we can, and published in the next available edition.
“This crisis will also allow us to further engage untapped funding sources, in the hopes of raising much-needed large seed funds that we never really had.
“By and large, our readership and members have been more than incredible, giving wings to one of the most inspired movements in recent memory. Through our first 2.5 years of publishing in this pioneering nonprofit format, our individual readers have contributed more than $153,000 in donations — above and beyond their annual memberships.
“This astonishing support has carried us this far, and fuels our small but incredibly hard-working and dedicated staff of just four full-time equivalents to create some amazing work — such as our recent Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and Japanese Culture Guide, which included a glossy pullout Japantown Map and Directory geared to empower community organizations and businesses alike, as well as expanded cultural arts class listings throughout the region.
“However, if we are to continue and build upon this strong foundation — which includes our educational components such as the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival — then we must raise larger amounts, particularly from those who may have the means to contribute such funds.
“Our ability to continue to keep the community connected, informed and empowered while documenting our history and supporting other community organizations is clearly at stake, as we face perhaps our greatest challenge yet. We are, however, a resilient community, and together we have overcome daunting challenges before.
“For those who can afford to, we urge you to contribute what you can by April 30, 2012, so that we can minimize the impact on staff cuts while helping to insure that we can continue as a community resource.”
For more information, visit www.nichibei.org.