LOS ANGELES — Between writing articles and researching stories, Javier Cabral is also posting stickers around Los Angeles that read “Save L.A. TACO.”

The stickers are the news organization’s latest effort to boost their subscribers and save their publication.

L.A. TACO is an independently owned news platform covering food, culture and news.

Cabral says they bring street level reporting to their subscribers. He spoke to me as he was putting stickers up near their office in Chinatown.

“It’s always the story about the people that we all take for granted the people serving your food, the person hustling in the street, on the side of the freeway, the injustice that someone may be facing and no one else is listening to them,” he said.

Recently L.A. TACO has had to furlough staff and launched a membership drive to save its publication.

They currently have four full-time staffers and one part time staffer.

Cabral says there are several reasons they’re running out of money. One reason is advertisers moving to influencer based marketing and there’s also AI.

“Common example is you google something and most likely it will pull from journalism platforms for an AI generated answer but it doesn’t give the link back credit, so that overnight disrupted the way journalism runs by click and by ad money,” Cabral said.

Matt Tinoco is the publisher and founder of Los Angeles Public Press, a small community focused nonprofit newsroom.

LA Public Press is in a much different situation because of their supporters, but Tinoco says funding is an issue all community journalists face.

“So long as the money that used to sustain journalism is absorbed by the tech companies, it leaves journalism as we need it in a very precarious financial circumstance,” says Tinoco.

Amara Aguilar is a journalism professor at the University of Southern California and says monetization is just of the challenges of community journalism.

“I think that when many of these publications have disappeared or if they are threatened to disappear, it’s really going to take a big toll and we may not realize it until it’s too late. So it’s really important to support community journalism and realize its value,” says Aguilar.

As for Cabral and L.A. TACO, their goal is to get 5,000 subscribers within the next week.

“I just want to make sure to make enough money to have everyone keep their benefits and pay them to tell the stories a lot of us take for granted,” said Cabral.