Why subscribe?

In the time since this program was created in July 2020, I have produced over 340 newsletters and podcasts that capture as much as I can about local and regional government. I have established myself on a beat that I covered for many years before taking a step away from journalism for a couple of years. Hundreds of people are supporting this work financially, and hundreds more are more informed after reading or listening!

Your financial support for this service helps fuel my passion to pay attention to as much as I can about what’s happening and to report on as much of it as I can. By subscribing through Substack, you are helping me to be sustainable as an independent journalist who has served this community for nearly 20 years.

Your $5 a month subscription, $50 a year subscription, or the $200 “founding member” tier helps me keep planning for future installments of the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast. You’re helping me plot out a two-year plan to ensure that someone is keeping a close eye on what elected and appointed officials are up to.

If you sign up for free, there is additional content that only paid subscribers can access. This often takes the form of getting to read a longer story first, or other added extras. The vast majority of content, though, will never be behind a paywall. That’s because one in four people who make a paid subscription cover the cost to make sure I can provide this information to anyone.

If you subscribe, you’ll also get access to other content I will produce in the weeks to come. These will be longer stories, podcasts, and more. But to make sure you get all of that, sign up! The daily newsletter will remain free as a public service, but I know some of you want more information. I’m here to provide it!

A very unphotogenic studio shot…

Why back to journalism?

I got back into journalism in part to help the community get through the pandemic. In March 2020, I created a regular podcast called the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. quickly realized I had a passion to get back to doing daily content. Our community is complex, and there’s no way I can cover it all. But I have set up a system that allows me to capture a lot, and now I’m becoming more efficient in how I deliver nformation.

America needs needs more stories about itself, and for me that means an interest in the nuts and bolts of policy. I find that many people don’t understand how the systems work. In order to be able to explain what I know, I need to continue research. I do not have the answers, but I’ve dedicated much of my life to asking questions.

And after nine months of this work, I find both my curiosity and my drive increasing. I hope that you will sign up for the email every day so you can follow my journey.

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox.

Some notes on sponsorship

And now, a word about the “shout-outs” you will see in the body of each newsletter and in the podcast. With the exception of one very generous sponsor, all of the public service announcements you hear on the show are for noncommercial activities. The move to a new ecosystem for journalism will take experimentation in funding and I also raise funding for my research through Patreon. As part of that effort, some of the contributors get a “shout-out” which follows an informal noncommercial policy.

That generous sponsor is Ting and this is their explanation of why they approached me with this initiative:

"We believe news is essential to good citizenship. We believe local issues and events have the greatest impact on local lives but too often get overshadowed by stories that are more global or more entertaining. We believe the need to generate advertising revenue can compromise the content and the experience. We believe people understandably tend to balk at paid subscriptions. We want Charlottesville Community Engagement to keep doing what it does, without pressure to monetize, economize or entertain. So we are simply matching every reader subscription or renewal without influence or agenda other than a small Ting logo at the top of this page and Charlottesville love from the bottoms of our hearts."

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