Above: ELi reporter Peyton Lombardo, in Venice
This morning we published what may be the last article from long-time ELi reporter Peyton Lombardo.
We’ve had to put our paid reporters on leave while we try to raise enough money to be sustainable, but we honored assignments made before we decided to cut back. I’ll admit to being a little choked up about editing what may be her last piece for our readers.
To say that Peyton has been a phenomenal asset would be an understatement. She’s an MSU undergrad who juggles classes, ELi reporting, and work as a student manager for the MSU Women’s Basketball team. She has covered a variety of topics at ELi, but what we’ll miss most is her passion and deep knowledge about sports. She’s covered ELHS soccer, MSU runners, and a local women’s soccer league.
There are a lot of reasons why this is kind of amazing. Here are a few:
1. Publisher Alice Dreger and I are just not sports people. Alice runs now and then, I watch MSU basketball, but our combined in-depth sports knowledge wouldn’t fill a shot glass. Peyton knows a lot about sports, she cares about them a lot, and she writes about them well.
2. We developed the kind of town-gown relationship through Peyton that should be the gold standard. ELi’s readers have gotten stories about things happening on campus that we wouldn’t otherwise know because Peyton has been embedded and connected. She has gotten deep support on this side of Grand River Avenue from at least two permanent residents who have cared about her, valued her personally and professionally, and still stand ready to write the most glowing of recommendations.
3. ELi paid a student for her reporting, and contributed to her education and professional growth by valuing her work, building her portfolio of published articles, and helping her learn skills like research, interviewing, and shaping a story.
Peyton thought it was great reporting for us, too. Here’s what she had to say about it last spring: “Writing for ELi has been one of the most rewarding things I've done for the past few years. Whether it's MSU writers reporting on local EL events or EL citizens interested in MSU happenings, ELi brings a sense of cohesiveness and unity between the two communities, one that I have not seen anywhere else.”
I hate the idea of losing Peyton. I had hoped that she’d be able to continue to write for us until she graduated, and that I could start cultivating a new sports reporter who would help ELi find and report the stories that don’t make it into other local media. (True story: Peyton started writing about the ELHS men’s soccer team because we had a request from a reader who had a son on the team and said she was frustrated because other local news outlets were only covering football. ELi stepped up and filled the reporting gap.)
We can save ELi, and hire Peyton back with your help. We have until January 31 to reach a sustainable level of funding, or we have to shut down the service.
Go here to become a monthly donor. Do it for the sports writing. Do it for the bridge we build across Grand River Avenue. Do it so we can keep discovering, nurturing and rewarding people who care about reporting on the community we all share.
Publisher's note: While Ann was composing this, we just reached 25% of our sustainability goal! You can take us farther. Click here.