This is the fifth 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.
Being the second (maybe 3rd or more) alternative newsmedia in Omaha, by definition The Reader aims to cover the news other media miss, tasked as they are with covering everything on a semi-daily basis. By doing this, we and other community media help create a local news ecosystem that provides our community with richer and deeper coverage.
That also means we have the unique opportunity to work together to build better journalism. With your support, we can continue efforts like these that have been one of our hallmarks:
- Partnering with the founders of El Perico in 2004 to bring more journalism for Omaha’s booming Latino community, eventually taking full ownership. Our early collaborative coverage helped unveil Kris Kobach’s plans to press local immigration ordinances around the country as a means to test federal immigration laws across geographic dockets.
- At the invitation of former publisher Dr. Marguerita Washington, joining the Mildred D. Brown Memorial Study Center Board in 2007, writing a Turnback Tax grant to digitize the Omaha Star’s archives, the oldest female founded and run Black newspaper in the country, and a legend in civil rights and media opportunities. Founder Mildred D. Brown started the Omaha Star in 1938 and was a founding member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association of the Black Press. That work led to help with succession and ultimately helping the Omaha Star turn nonprofit as a program of the Center. Shortly thereafter, also securing a Facebook Journalism Project grant for an enterprise reporting piece on Gentrification in North Omaha and a Knight Foundation grant to relaunch the Star’s website.
- Teaming up with the largest local TV news show in 2012 to cover efforts by the Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster county Election Commissioners to close polling places ahead of federal elections, particularly in East Omaha. That coverage spurred community leadership and government officials to restore half the polling places slated for closure. That collaboration deepened when the station was the first to air A Time for Burning locally, almost 50 years after its release, in prime time.
- Working with Internews and local foundations to write the grant that launched NOISE as part of the Listening Post Collaborative, ahead of the 2014 primary elections, hiring founder and inaugural executive director Dawaune Hayes and providing support and story collaboration opportunities as it continues to grow.
- One of our few claims to fame is that Flatwater Free Press founder and investigative data reporter savant, Matt Wynn, was a high school intern for us, so supporting Wynn as he navigated the launch of Nebraska’s first statewide investigative journalism operation was a no-brainer. We couldn’t have been prouder to feature one of their first stories, a freelance project from our very own News Editor Chris Bowling, in our September issue, and look forward to many more collaborations as their reporting team grows.
- As pandemic lockdowns threatened the entire local media industry, working with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Association of Hispanic Publications and Local Independent Online News Publishers to lead an industry-wide conversation with the national local media funders that informed over $80 million in emergency, no-strings-attached, operating relief funds from Google and Facebook, helping outlets ranging from ours and the Omaha World Herald, to Mundo Latino and Telemundo, navigate an unprecedented crisis.
Giving back to the community and the local media ecosystem that has made The Reader possible is in our DNA. With your support, we’ll continue that work.