There was never a year in my life when my day didn’t either start or end with a newspaper at our door. Growing up in rural southern Michigan, we subscribed to the Detroit Free Press as well as the Hillsdale Daily News and the Jonesville Village Crier. I went from flipping first to the comics, to tackling every crossword and other puzzle I could find, to majoring in journalism in college.
After graduation, I moved to Washington D.C. and woke up thrilled to see the Post in my apartment lobby. After moving to Maryland, I added our local Annapolis paper (also my employer) and the Baltimore Sun to my Post subscription.
When home called, I said good-bye to my beloved Post, renewed my Free Press subscription and added the competitor Detroit News as well as the Jackson Citizen Patriot.
But in 2013, we moved to East Lansing. By this time, all my news was, realistically, delivered online but I still subscribed to the Lansing State Journal in support of my former profession. But the sadly light package that arrived each day failed in its promise to deliver any news about my new hometown. Even on those weeks when the East Lansing Courier was included, it was woefully empty of information that concerned my daily life. I went to an online subscription only, and gleefully took the savings and subscribed to home delivery of the New York Times.
But it wasn’t local. Neither was The State News, of which I am an alumna and a huge supporter (while I was there, it was awarded top college newspaper four years in a row!). They do a good job covering the campus but the City…not so much.
When Alice Dreger proposed a hyper-local news outlet – free of opinion or bias – I was thrilled. But the happiness I felt at the start is nothing compared to the pride and joy I feel as I have watched this beautiful idea of East Lansing Info grow and expand and become invaluable to East Lansing residents, myself included.
I thought I had left my reporting days behind me but when Alice and Managing Editor Ann Nichols offered me the school board beat, I jumped. With three kids in public school, I needed to know what was going on in the administration offices and board room. Rumors were rampant, and as a newcomer I had no idea where to turn for a reliable source. So I became that source.
I believe that each day, East Lansing Info provides my community with a truly unique service. The diversity of writers ensures that even the most underrepresented in our society can be heard. The extremely high professional standards of Alice and Ann ensure that the quality of information is the best it can be. Some days it is uncomfortable to be covering issues with which I am also deeply concerned – and it may have lost me some friends – but deep down, I feel this is why journalism started and is, in its purest form, why journalism still matters.
I may miss the thunk of a newspaper on my step each morning but I would be much more devastated if I didn’t get my daily ELi email. If you can donate, please consider doing so. Even a few dollars a month is enough to keep this dream alive.
Editor’s Note: There are two easy ways for people to become financial supporters:
(1) Send a check for the year total of the yearly pledge, payable to East Lansing Info, PO Box 115, East Lansing, MI 48823. If you’re going to do this, email Alice Dreger to let her know: email@example.com. That way she can note it is coming in as ELi calculates whether we are reaching our January 31 sustainability goal.
(2) Use a major credit card to make an automated monthly donation via PayPal: http://www.eastlansinginfo.org/content/become-monthly-financial-supporter-paypal
Donations to East Lansing Info are tax-deductible in the year in which they are made.