I had the great privilege to speak to the Lexington Rotary Club this month about the Herald-Leader specifically and the state of local journalism in general.
It’s no secret that local journalism has faced many challenges in recent years: financial challenges, stresses of the pandemic, the effects of disinformation on social media and more. Still, I found a lot of reasons to be optimistic as I spoke with the Rotarians, including exciting plans to add journalists to our staff that I’ll talk more about in a future column.
Here’s one of the biggest things I found to be optimistic about, though: The response in Central Kentucky and nationally to support local journalism through community funding.
You’ve seen that support play out in our pages in very concrete ways in the last few years. These include our community partnership that led to the grant-funded Our Voices project of 2020 and 2021, which featured first-person commentaries from more than two dozen Lexington residents about their personal experiences confronting racism in our community.
These also include this community’s support, individually and through organizations like the Blue Grass Community Foundation, of our partnership with Report for America, which has helped place journalists in Kentucky with the Herald-Leader since 2018.
Those reporters have broken news and gone in-depth on stories like public health (a critical focus area throughout the pandemic) and issues vital to Eastern Kentucky and rural parts of the state, both in words and visuals. These journalists have produced deep reporting on everything from the environment to economic development, vaccine disinformation to the opioid epidemic.
You can help support our work directly and help maintain vibrant local journalism through our 2021 Fall News Fund Campaign. You can donate online to the campaign at kentucky.com/donate.
To mail a donation, please make checks payable to “Journalism Funding Partners” or “JFP.” The Lexington Herald-Leader’s name must be included in the memo line, and include your email address so we can send you an acknowledgment email.
Mail checks to McClatchy, 1601 Alhambra Blvd, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95816.
These remain extraordinary times for all of us, but local journalism in Kentucky and elsewhere has shown its impact and value throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Deeply reported, verified information matters now more than ever. And community funding is an increasingly important part of helping that kind of locally rooted journalism remain healthy.
If you’d like to talk more about local journalism and community funding (or other topics), as always, I’d invite you to reach out by phone, (859) 334-0538, or email, email@example.com.
We appreciate your ongoing support of our work, through your readership and through your direct support of this and previous community funding campaigns.
Thank you for reading the Herald-Leader.
Peter Baniak is the executive editor and general manager of the Herald-Leader.