Along with a day off work, barbecues and fireworks, the Fouth of July — Independence Day — is about remembering and celebrating our freedoms as Americans.

Those freedoms are spelled out in the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, which was added to our Constitution to protect our individual liberties.

Of the 10 amendments, it is the First Amendment that is the most fundamental to the health of our democracy:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Noozhawk has never believed in playing a victim, but it’s hard to deny that “the press” is under attack these days — by powerful voices and by ordinary citizens.

Criticism is justified when we screw up, of course, and we at Noozhawk try to do our part with the expectation that our professional journalists will simply report the truth and keep their opinions out of what they type.

Our responsibility as independent journalists is to bring you high-quality reporting, information and data, as well as to defend the public’s right to know. We take our mission seriously, but it takes time, resources and money.

From the very start nearly 11 years ago, Noozhawk has been blessed to have the support of local advertisers that believed in our concept and the value of our audience. We are grateful for that.

We also have a growing force of “subscribers” who have joined our Hawks Club as a way to financially support what Noozhawk is doing and to help us expand to cover more and more of Santa Barbara County. These members recognize the positive role we play in our community, and they believe their contribution is a worthwhile investment to make.

On this Fourth of July, in honor of our collective freedoms, I’m asking you to please join our Hawks Club, too. Noozhawk has 21,000 daily readers, and clearly there is something we’re doing that keeps you coming back — with many of you returning multiple times throughout the day.

Please think about the value you are receiving from our exercise of the free press.

Your contribution is not tax-deductible; Noozhawk is a for-profit business. But I can assure you that nearly every dollar we take in goes right back into the product we make available to you 24/7.

Click here to join the Hawks Club, or scroll down to sign up right from this page. Checks in any amount can be mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

Thank you, and Happy Independence Day.

— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.