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.

All of our readers give life to what we do, but the work is made possible by our dedicated members. Our goal until the end of the year is to add 100 more. We hope you’ll consider joining.

In the meantime, this Thanksgiving, our reporters asked to share their gratitude for everything reader support has helped them achieve. 

Emma Schartz worked at The Reader during the summer of 2021 as an editorial intern, covering stories about COVID-19 data and state sex education standards as well as hosting the first guests on Reader Radio, The Reader‘s podcast. Omaha born and raised, she is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City, where she writes for the student newspaper and edits for the undergraduate law review.
How have you seen your work make an impact?
When reporting on sex education in Nebraska, everyone I spoke with thanked me for covering the issue in a deeper way. Folks on both sides of this highly contested issue wanted someone to tell this story in a way.
The Reader is the publication to discover and fall in love (or back in love) with Omaha and its diverse people with a unique blend of news and cultural coverage. Support from readers far and wide does more than just financially allow a publication to continue producing stories; it gives The Reader purpose, and a greater community to serve.

Sara Locke

Sara Locke is an award-winning journalist, copywriter, and author living, working and raising her three children in Omaha. Nebraska. Locke has served as the Contributing Editor for The Reader’s Dish section since 2014, and is passionately driven to share not only the dishes that make Omaha worth talking about, but the human interest stories behind each menu. 
How have you seen your work make an impact?
I love the ability to give a voice to the local farmers, small shops and mom-and-pops who are putting it all on the line to create new dining opportunities for Omahans. They have put us on the map, showing exactly what can be done with a creative approach and the support they are getting from people like our Readers. Humanizing the efforts behind what might be just a quick bite for some empowers people to make decisions that have a much greater local impact.
What’s one thing you’d want to tell readers about us? Or about why their support matters?:
What The Reader has created for the community is a truly local-driven narrative. We are asking you every day what you care about, then we are using that feedback to not only find the story, but to create actionable steps to help you become part of it. To help you create better outcomes on issues that matter most to you.
While everyone is currently bemoaning the grief-porn and doom-scrolling that most media seems to be filled with, the team at The Reader are helping you become the change you want to see.

Mark McGaugh is a journalist and multimedia producer with First Sky Omaha, a partner of The Omaha Reader. Mark’s an Omaha-native and a graduate of Florida A&M University.
I’ve worked as a journalist and producer since 2015, but have been with The Reader since late 2019/early 2020. I enjoy the work The Reader does and am pleased to give my community a voice through honest journalism and story-telling. I am a strong believer in good journalism as a form of activism and protecting the vitality of the “fourth estate”.
How have you seen your work make an impact?
The work we are doing at The Reader has undoubtedly impacted how I view my community and how the community expresses itself. Many of the stories that are told in The Reader often fall between the cracks of other local outlets, causing community members to be hesitant to speak about their personal stories. However, The Reader has provided a voice and emboldened the community to stand up and speak for itself.
What’s one thing you’d want to tell readers about us? Or about why their support matters?:
The Reader provides news about the community and the people who give the community life. Supporting this vital resource secures an outlet for the community to tell their own stories and make better sense of the world around them. Help the people of Omaha tell their story by becoming a member of The Reader today.

These reporters did an amazing job this last year, but only through the support of our members. In 2022, they want to Focus Forward and give you the stories you need to navigate our new normal and build a better Omaha. 

Will you help them?


John Heaston

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