Charlottesville Tomorrow thinks the best news happens when a community has a stake in — and ownership over — the news organization itself. As part of our ongoing effort to be accountable to our community, Charlottesville Tomorrow on Monday worked with local activist Don Gathers to hold our third community feedback session at the historic First Baptist Church on West Main Street. The roughly eight attendees listened to our executive director, Giles Morris, and our editor, Elliott Robinson, talk about our role and vision as an organization.
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One of our goals this year is to increase community investment in our news by doubling our number of small donors. Building trust, particularly among communities that have been ignored or harmed by news in the past, and listening to what our communities want us to cover is key to that goal. Elliott used an example of the highway that sliced his childhood neighborhood in Hampton in half and the disinvestment that he witnessed in his half. That memory of people not having their voices heard in the 1980s and 1990s is why community feedback is important to him. “I grew up with smokestacks two blocks away,” he said. “News outlets never showed up unless something bad happened.” Attendees shared ideas about what to cover and how and thanked us for the work that we do.Main takeaways
- find a way to cover the University of Virginia Health System and its billing practices, which have harmed community members
- want to see more articles that decode news, such as explaining how so many important issues come back to a seemingly dry topic like land use
- we’re lucky to have community-driven news in Charlottesville, many places would die to have this
Our staff has been incorporating feedback from our past two listening sessions. The first session, which the Charlottesville Black Professional Network hosted, led to this article and video explaining a key affordable housing term. Our second session on education informed this interview with new city School Board member Lashundra Bryson Morsberger.To work with us to host a listening session for your community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.