Letter from the Editor: Help Us Fund a New Reporter As We Look Ahead To Our Next 6 Months

We're seeking $75,000 to fund a reporter position focused on covering political and economic power in Roanoke.

Originally published March 2

Dear Reader:

Last week’s issue marked our six-month birthday. Since we began publishing Sept. 1, 2021, hundreds of you have supported our unique blend of local news, hard-hitting investigative journalism and original literature. Before highlighting some of our accomplishments and partnerships over the last six months, however, I want to look ahead to our next six months.

We are thrilled to announce we are actively fundraising for a new reporter position to focus on covering “power” — those with the most and least political and economic power — in Roanoke. This investigative reporter position would, without fear or favor, hold powerful actors in Roanoke accountable to the people they serve, whether that is in government or business.

We are seeking an initial $75,000 to fund the first year of this person’s salary.

Thanks in part to a new founding gift from The Estate of Lorraine Deubel and a $4,300 grant from Google News Initiative, we have already set aside $15,000 for this initiative.

As soon as we connect with just a dozen individuals or organizations who can commit $5,000, on average, to this exciting opportunity, we can begin the hiring process. You can contact me directly at editor@roanokerambler.com or 540-307-1475 to learn more about giving to The Rambler, including how you may be able to benefit from a tax-deductible donation. You can also write to us at P.O. Box 323, Vinton, VA 24179.

While this fundraising effort relies on larger donors, we always welcome small donations, which can come in the direct form of new subscribers or gift subscriptions. We encourage all our subscribers to spread the word about The Rambler to their friends, family and neighbors. If every subscriber can convince just one person to sign up, we will achieve financial self-sufficiency this year and can devote more of our reserve funds to this new reporter position.  

In addition to donations to fund this position, we seek to connect with experienced fundraisers who can help us meet our goals.

Of course, all this talk of money is entirely in service to the journalism we have produced and will continue to produce. From local government to the environment, from food coverage to the city’s changing neighborhoods, we have consistently brought you news and stories you won’t find elsewhere. Some of our recent investigations include reports of low morale at Salem’s high school due to what employees say is a toxic environment under the principal; an exclusive revelation that Roanoke police accidentally deleted data from a city councilman's iPad during an embezzlement probe; and, in this issue, a story on how Roanoke schools spent nearly $1.6 million on coronavirus-killing air filters whose efficacy experts question.

We’ve also forged community partnerships that have brought our journalism to a wider audience.

Since our launch, we have published stories in The Roanoke Tribune, the weekly newspaper that has been “making and recording Black history since 1939.” For local elections in 2021, we published candidate interviews in The Roanoke Star, an online news site. And since December, we have partnered with radio station WFIR to bring weekly audio stories about our coverage. You can hear those stories on The Roanoke Valley's Morning News, from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

With the community’s ongoing support, we look forward to our next six months of bringing you lively literature and exclusive journalism that is entirely local and independent. Only together can we continue to provide an alternative and critical eye on the most important issues facing Roanoke and our region.

Sincerely yours,

Henri Gendreau

The Roanoke Rambler
Local | Investigative | Literary

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