A Word from Our Publisher

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Saturday, October 4, 2014, 1:13 pm
Alice Dreger

Photo credit: Jenny Stevenson Phtography

EastLansingInfo.org (ELi) has been up and running for about a month and the response has been tremendous! People all over town are sharing our articles and are talking about how refreshing it is to have an independent, nonpartisan news source focused on our otherwise-overlooked small city. The excitement is palpable, and the level of participation is terrific!

Our Indiegogo campaign has raised $2,195 dollars so far, and in addition to that, we’ve gotten donations of $12,050 bringing us to a sum total so far of  $14,245! Recent credit card hacking has made some folks understandably reluctant to use credit cards, so we’ve been happy to accept checks. (They can be made payable to “East Lansing Info” and mailed to PO Box 115, East Lansing, MI 48826.) Because we obtained IRS approval of our 501c3 organization before we launched, you can rest assured that all of your donations will be tax deductible for 2014!

People have been asking me why I’ve launched ELi and why I put so much of my volunteer time into it. The answer is made up of two parts:

  1. My twenty years’ work nationally as a patient advocate has caused me to personally have to witness the collapse of traditional news reporting (especially investigative nonpartisan reporting) and the terrible impact that’s had on our democratic process. Without a free, nonpartisan press, people simply can’t know what governments, corporations, and everyone else is really up to. While I can’t do much about this nationally (except engage in reporting, which I do, and donate to Pro Publica and NPR, which I do), I realized I might be able to help come up with a local model to start fixing this problem. That leads me to the second reason I founded ELi and the reason I donate so much of my time to it . . .
  2. I love East Lansing! I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. East Lansing has provided my husband (our astronomy reporter), my son (our staff photographer), and me a wonderful home with amazing neighbors, great schools, and a city full of beautiful trees and beautiful people.  So I spent about 6 months designing ELi as a 501c3 nonprofit, creating a system for an engaged citizen news cooperative, convening a board, and with them developing standards that would make ELi something East Lansing badly needs: a news site that is just-the-facts, nonpartisan, East Lansing-centered, diverse in topic area, and as vibrant as our city.


Why do we need money to make ELi work? Two years ago I tried running ELi as an all-volunteer organization, but it just was not sustainable. Reporting news consistently and at consistently high quality takes serious effort, which means having paid staff for technology, management, and editing. No one at ELi makes a lot of money, believe me. But we’re paying folks just enough to make it possible for them to set aside the time every week it takes to keeping our service to you humming.

I am so excited about our launch and even more excited as we move forward! Our successful fundraising means we can now work on incorporating the great ideas people have sent for tweaking ELi to become ever more critical to our daily city life. I am looking forward to soon showing you new features that will help you easily keep up on what’s going on around town in our government, our arts and entertainment scene, our yards and rivers, our schools, and our festivals.

So please, join me in donating generously to ELi online (click here to donate online) or by check (click here to donate by check), and most of all, tell your friends and neighbors to come look at eastlansinginfo.org! Consider becoming involved as a provider of story ideas, leads, and even reporting. (You don’t need to have any professional experience as a writer or reporter. Our editors are here to help you!) Join me in making sure ELi becomes a fixture of our community, a place where we can all come together to share news of our Council, our commissions, our taxes, our schools, our artists, our shopkeepers, our children and our elders, and all of the weird and wonderful corners that make up our home town.

Thank you!

Alice Dreger

Publisher of East Lansing Info

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