This is the 13th installment of our Focus Forward email membership campaign. We’re trying to add 100 members by the end of the year. Will you help us build a better news landscape for as little as $5 a month? Become a member today.

Dear reader,

When I think about reporters making impacts, I immediately think of Leah Cates.

Leah came to us in late 2020 during the height of the pandemic, And from day one, the Vassar College graduate and former student paper editor, had no problem shaking things up. In her time here she’s written about the city and state’s LGBTQ+ history, transgender students and the political/social maelstrom they’ve been caught in, critical race theory (before the term was on everyone’s minds) and more. Many have told these stories, but few have been able to get the same responses. Member support gives us breathing room to let reporters’ like Leah Cates follow their curiosity to write poignant stories. Consider becoming a member today.

But in the mean time, read about the impact Leah’s had on The Reader in her own words.

After her reporting internship ended in May 2021, Leah Cates stuck around as an Editorial & Membership Associate. She also pens our Omaha Jobs column about employment equity, creates the daily newsletter, develops social media strategy and more. Leah, who served as Editor-in-Chief of Vassar College’s student newspaper, is currently applying to Women’s and Gender Studies PhD programs, where she hopes to blend journalistic and academic writing to make academic research more accessible to the general public.
How have you seen your work make an impact?
My article on the experience of people with disabilities in the local workforce was referenced in Disability Rights Nebraska’s testimony on behalf of Legislative Resolution 139, which promotes employment equity in the state. In addition, when I pointed out an inaccurate photo caption published by a national textbook company in my cover story “The Fight to Change Social Studies in Nebraska” which the Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies spotlights on their website homepage, the textbook publisher amended the caption. Finally, I was invited to speak on Omaha Public Radio about my Omaha Pride in 2021 feature and, to help support and empower her clients, a therapist who works with transgender youth shows them the narratives from local queer community members that I compiled as part of feature.
What’s one thing you’d want to tell readers about us? Or about why their support matters?:
The Reader staff are some of the most committed, caring, competent and thoughtful humans I’ve had the honor of encountering. These people will stop at nothing to bring you thoroughly researched, bold and gripping journalism that tackles the most pressing social-justice issues in the region. They work their butts off 24/7 because they are deeply invested in the local community and understand that journalism is a form of activism. If you support The Reader, you support the work of Reader journalists, editors, interns, associates and publishers, which can create real change in our community.

Without Leah, Omaha would have missed out on so much insightful journalism. And she’s just one part of the team. Without the entire Reader team you’d miss out on a whole lot more.

It doesn’t need to be this way.

Our readers are taking a stand and embracing our Focus Forward initiative. By supporting The Reader to preserve coverage of your community and culture, they’re directing their dollars to focus on the people, ideas and solutions to overcome today’s unprecedented challenges. 

There’s just three days left. Will you join them?

Button: Yes! Sign me up!

The data is clear: when local news outlets shut down, civic engagement declines, partisan division increases, and corporate misconduct and public corruption flourishes. 

The enthusiasm so far for Focus Forward is a great start, but the need for support continues. As a member you’ll ensure that our leaders remain accountable, and our businesses, artists and neighbors get the coverage they deserve. 

Help ensure we never see a world without The Reader, and make Omaha thrive. Become a member now.


John Heaston

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