Please visit Donate.ValleyIndy.org to support The Valley Indy during The Great Give May 1 (Tuesday) and May 2 (Wednesday).
The Valley Indy is a free publication. But we need your help every year to keep going.
First, some background.
The Valley Indy was created by people much smarter than I am.
The Valley Community Foundation and The Online Journalism Project applied for a grant from The Knight Foundation. The folks from VCF and OJP argued the Valley was becoming an information dead zone. Media consolidation and changes in the economy had already robbed the Valley of The Evening Sentinel, WADS radio, and local news coverage on public access.
By 2008, the recession, coupled with a laundry list of issues assaulting the newspaper industry, was forcing traditional media outlets to shrink, or, in the case of The Valley Gazette and The Valley Times, disappear altogether.
I was hired after OJP and the VCF received a grant.
At the time I lived in an apartment on E Street in Derby working at a newspaper. Living in the Valley was a job requirement, and already being here probably gave me a slight edge over other applicants, I assume. It’s part of the OJP philosophy that an informed community is a stronger community, and that reporters should truly be local.
The initial grant covered two years. I expected to work two years and take a job outside journalism, given its sorry state and “do more with less” attitude.
That was nine years ago.
Since then my wife and I purchased a house around the corner from that apartment in Derby. We’ve had two children. Here’s my family.
The Great Give, to be honest, is a major burden on my wife, Autumn, because for two days she has to get the kids ready in the morning, take the kids to school, leave early from her job to pick them up, then put them to bed while I participate in our (low-tech but really fun) Great Give marathon livestream.
Thank you, Autumn! I forget to say that every year.
The fact The Valley Indy is still around after nine years is unexpected, to say the least. In today’s media climate we probably qualify as a minor miracle.
Reporter Ethan Fry was brought on board after my colleague Jodie Gil left to become a college journalism professor (always a point of pride for us).
(The photo up top, by the way, shows us receiving a Silver Medal Award for community service from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.
From left to right in the top photo are George D. Mitchell, Jr., VP of Operations at Sikorsky and Chairman of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Ethan, me, Jodie and Ramon E. Peralta, Jr., 2016 Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce Gold Seal recipient)
Lately Ethan has been responsible for the bulk of the daily reporting duties at The Valley Indy. We published two investigations this year. Ethan did the majority of the heavy lifting.
Well, now I’m rambling. Sorry.
Please visit Donate.ValleyIndy.org to make tax-deductible donations.
Here’s the thing — The Great Give is very important to us. Traditional revenue streams are elusive in this industry, even more so locally.
So our goal is to raise $10,000 in 36 hours during The Great Give. The money goes straight to annual operating costs to keep The Valley Indy going.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Donate during The Great Give. To do so, go to Donate.ValleyIndy.org.
2. Share Donate.ValleyIndy.org with your friends and family.
3. The best time to donate is between 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.
4. Watch our marathon livestream on Facebook.com/ValleyIndependentSentinel. We’ll be promoting other Valley nonprofits.
Here is a partial list of what we’ve been up to since last year’s Great Give:
- Moderated a debate between two Democratic candidates for mayor in Derby. It was released as a podcast on ValleyIndy.org and aired on FM radio in the City of New Haven.
- Moderated a debate between the two candidates for mayor in Ansonia. It was live-streamed on the Valley Indy Facebook page. More than 5,000 people watched. About 18,700 people live in Ansonia.
- Organized and moderated a public mayoral debate in Derby, the first such event in the city in more than 20 years. About 200 people attended. Partnered with the school district for a venue and to livestream.
- Partnered with the Valley Council on Health and Human Services to publish “Valley Youth Making A Difference.” A young person from the lower Valley is highlighted once a month.
- Received a Silver Medal community service award from The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.
- Recorded, edited and published 50 “Navel Gazing” podcasts. Each episode is roughly an hour long. We’re the only local podcast of its kind.
There’s more, but this post is already too long.