Maine author Stephen King has always been a passionate philanthropist, especially when it comes to improving the situation in Maine. The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation was created to give back to the communities where it's founders grew up, and has done a lot of good in improving the lives of Mainers.
When King heard that the Portland Press Herald would be discontinuing its paid reviews of Maine books (books by Maine authors, about Maine, or set in Maine), he took to twitter to voice his frustration and call for the Press Herald to reconsider the decision.
The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram will no longer publish local, freelance-written reviews of books ab… https://t.co/pLhZopo4DI— Stephen King (@Stephen King) 1547239801.0
This sentiment was echoed by local librarians and authors, as well as the general public.
@GeneralTHC @Rowaenthe @StephenKing As a Maine librarian, these reviews were essential in finding local authors. Ma… https://t.co/TaVAp44xHn— Emma J. Gibbon (@Emma J. Gibbon) 1547261126.0
Some people were confused about why people would need a newspaper to review books in the digital age.
@Rowaenthe @StephenKing Hard for me to believe ppl are looking at their Iocal paper for books to read in this day a… https://t.co/wXhVSDLX4u— GeneralTHC (@GeneralTHC) 1547255041.0
@StephenKing Yes, and wire service reviews, bless them, are kind of snobby. Small-press authors need independent re… https://t.co/oMVKvYrdVC— Angela Rynan Durrell (@Angela Rynan Durrell) 1547240482.0
@Sleepyfable @GeneralTHC @StephenKing Writers and authors benefit so much from local publications, libraries, and b… https://t.co/DFelbo6zbE— Angela Rynan Durrell (@Angela Rynan Durrell) 1547261443.0
Writer Luke O'Neil also had an interesting idea. O'Neil's recent GoFundMe campaign to build a giant escalator over the US/Mexico border wall if it becomes a reality (the campaign is actually raising money for RAICES, a non-profit which is "providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.").
@StephenKing Buy the paper and fund the reviews buddy. And please send me $10k— luke o'neil (@luke o'neil) 1547242533.0
The Press Herald, after seeing the attention garnered by King's tweet, offered to reinstate the reviews if at least 100 of King's followers subscribed to the digital version of the paper. The motivation for stopping the reviews was saving money, so this would provide the necessary revenue to continue paying reviewers.
@StephenKing These are challenging times for newspapers. But here’s an offer: If you can get 100 of your followers… https://t.co/gFuXPgHrKe— Portland Press Herald (@Portland Press Herald) 1547241778.0
There was an outpouring of support for the paper, including people from as far away as Texas and Washington purchasing digital subscriptions.
@StephenKing Done. I’m in Indiana, so it’s just a digital subscription for me. I’ve been to Maine on vacation...hop… https://t.co/ydozIrnlLm— Jules Auburn (@Jules Auburn) 1547324915.0
The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald has agreed to reinstate local book reviews if 100 people subscribe. Sales pitch?… https://t.co/ArQuG9etZi— Stephen King (@Stephen King) 1547322087.0
@PressHerald @StephenKing Former journalist turned to the dark side, now happily subbed to the PPH. Local papers matter!— Matthew McWilliams (@Matthew McWilliams) 1547252258.0
@PressHerald @StephenKing I live in Austin, TX and now subscribe to 3 papers: @nytimes, @washingtonpost, and now… https://t.co/AsYFgGuzZT— oldfatslow (@oldfatslow) 1547300097.0
@oldfatslow @PressHerald @StephenKing @nytimes @washingtonpost I live in Kent, Washington and subscribe to three pa… https://t.co/XhEYOPr5iN— Lynda Case (@Lynda Case) 1547401237.0
When the requisite 100 subscriptions were achieved, and exceeded, Portland Press Herald posted an update.
In an age where information is available anywhere in the world instantly, it's thrilling to see what that immediate communication can accomplish.