Before We Go

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Thursday, December 24, 2015, 4:06 pm
Alice Dreger, Publisher and Board President

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was writing to tell you what a typically crazy week it had been at ELi. So much going on, so many reporters assigned to so many important stories! What a difference a couple of weeks on the calendar makes around East Lansing. Today, everyone is either away or laying low, enjoying the break. As you’ll understand, it makes sense for ELi to be mostly on break during this period, too.

But before we go really quiet (barring disasters), I want to say thanks to all of you, our readers. It’s been a wonderful year at ELi. In 2015, our first full calendar year, we’ve brought you news from local reporters just about every day of the year. We’ve channeled the talents of our citizen reporters—from a third-grader to octogenarians—to bring you news of local parks, arts, shops and restaurants, volunteer activities, our schools and our city government. We’ve worked to bring you consistent, in-depth coverage of our City Council election, changes in our schools’ sex ed curriculum, a major local spill at our wastewater treatment plant, and the Park District redevelopment saga.

Throughout this year, our Managing Editor Ann Nichols has strived to make sure everything we’ve reported has met our standards of accuracy, fairness, nonpartisanship, and clarity—while she has also worked hard to mentor new reporters to bring you stories you simply won’t find anywhere else. Our Board has supported her work and the work of the whole team.

As a vibrant, community-devoted team, we’ve pushed other local news outlets to pay more attention to East Lansing (a benefit to us all!). We’ve used the Freedom of Information Act to find out for you what’s really going on in our government. And we’ve raised the level of dialogue in this city, getting people to engage in meaningful and important dialogue about our City’s and school district’s finances, the stewardship of our urban ecosystem, election politics, and town-gown relations.

We’ve now published about 750 individual articles from over 60 local writers, not counting hundreds of calendar notices. And over 90% of the money we’ve raised and then spent to run ELi has stayed in the local economy, mostly paying local folks a little something as they help out.

So, as the person functioning as the CEO of the big, beautiful beast that is ELi, I have one more job to do before I go on my ELi break: That’s to ask you to reflect on what our public service means to you, and to ask you to reach into your wallet to pull out your checkbook or credit card to make one more year-end, tax deductible donation to East Lansing info.

I am personally asking you to join me in showing the people who work for ELi, either as unpaid volunteers or underpaid but devoted employees, that you believe in what they’re doing. Show them you appreciate that they’re going to be covering so much news for you in 2016—news of local developments like the one being built by MSU on Harrison Road and the one to be called “White Oak Place,” news of City Council’s attempts to deal with our large retirement-related debt, news of the possible re-opening of the Red Cedar School and a vote on a school bond, news of local folks in our community doing good work for each other. It’s going to be another big year, and we’re going to need ELi in full capacity.

Even if you can only donate $10, I promise you we’ll put that money to good use, pushing more and more news out to the folks of East Lansing. And if you can donate more than that—if the economic hardships facing Michigan have not hit you quite as hard as some of our neighbors—then please, give more. Consider giving $100 or even $240 (the equivalent of $20/month).

Together, we can keep ELi going for the people of this City! Together, we can keep using ELi to create a sense of place, to make sure voters and city employees and parents of school children are more informed, to draw new, vibrant residents to our area to want to live within our City borders, to make East Lansing our state’s most news-connected “city of the smarts.”

Support ELi with a donation right now. You’ll have my thanks, and the thanks of our whole team!


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