ELi Seeks to Hire More Government and Schools Reporters

Monday, August 7, 2017, 8:19 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: Photos of some of ELi's reporters.

The two major beats we cover for you at East Lansing Info are East Lansing city government and East Lansing Public Schools administration. Over ELI’s first three fiscal years, these have emerged as the two topic areas of greatest concern to our readers, and, because we exist specifically as a public-service organization, we prioritize what our readers want us to prioritize.

Our current reporting teams in Government and Schools are excellent, but there is more to cover than they can manage. So we are putting out the call now for additional reporters, looking for people who can take on as little as one article every month to those who can take on regular beats and long-term stories.

You absolutely do not have to have experience in professional journalism to join our ranks. Most of our reporters have been non-journalists who are simply interested citizens who write reasonably well. We help by providing topic guidance, sources, assistance with research and interviewing, photography, and editing.

We have found that this work seems to work especially well for: college students planning to go into fields that require public relations and public writing; primary-care-giver parents of young children; underemployed spouses of folks who came to the East Lansing area for jobs; and retirees with a strong interest in civic life. (By the way, you don’t have to live in East Lansing to work as a reporter for us.)

There’s plenty to cover for our readers right now, and plenty of variety within the broad topics of Government and Schools.

In terms of City government, not only is East Lansing facing a Council election and an income tax ballot question in November, the City is also dealing with major budgetary challenges, growing public concerns about the BWL tree-cutting program, a number of lawsuits, and two $100+ million redevelopment proposals with more major downtown redevelopment proposals coming,

On the Schools side, we’ve got a recently-passed bond that is going to lead to demolition and reconstruction of five elementary schools and rehabilitation of a sixth, a newly hired superintendent, and a new high school principal, not to mention ongoing public concerns about various curricular issues and school safety (for example, suicide prevention and lead-in-water management).

Interested in helping out, either voluntarily or for pay? Check out this page to learn more, and then be in touch with our Managing Editor Ann Nichols by email by clicking here.

Take my word for it: this may turn out to be some of the most meaningful public service work you’ve ever done. And if you are interested in earning a little extra money, and you’ve got the basic skills for writing up a factual, non-opinionated report for your community, while it won’t make you rich, it’s really interesting work with significant flexibility built in.

Not in a position to report for us? Then help us pay our reporters to keep the ELi machine running. Make a tax-deductible financial contribution today.