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Don’t turn me into Ira Glass. Please donate!

Non-profit journalism can't rely just on foundation grants or advertising to thrive. Original reporting on complex subjects is expensive, so those who depend on that reporting need to contribute to keep it going.

In public radio, stations do twice-yearly membership drives that feature repetitious cries for money, reminding listeners of their duty to donate.

Mostly, fundraising interruptions are irksome, but I actually enjoy it when they bring on Ira Glass, host of "This American Life." He knows exactly what to say and how to say it to evoke laughter or tears.

He knows how to make listeners who never donate feel guilty. He turns  membership drives into entertainment, calling up listeners to ask why they listen but never join public radio.

It's funny, but it mortifies the recipient of the call. I really don't want to turn into Ira Glass.

But it costs an average of $500 to produce an original article, and we like to publish several original stories a week. Our readers -- you -- have told us that's the most important thing we do.

We're currently in a fundraising drive to win a $25,000 match from a foundation. We still have more than $18,000 to raise, with only two weeks to go.

What's it going to take, folks? Do I have to start dialing the phone?

For instructions on making a contribution, go to this column and scroll to the bottom. And thank you.  

--Editor Carol Gentry can be reached at 727-410-3266 or at


Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.