The answer to the question “Why do you report for ELi?” is simultaneously very simple and contains layer upon layer of nuance.
The very simple answer is this: I think it’s important for people to be informed about their communities, and ELi’s main mission is to ensure the people of East Lansing can be in the know.
While that answer broadly follows the contours of what drives me — and ELi — to do this work, it’s not the fullest picture.
For starters, I’m from mid-Michigan. I’m an Okemos High School graduate. And outside of my four years attending Syracuse University, I’ve spent my entire life in the Capital Area. My grandfather was a professor at MSU, and my grandmother taught in Lansing. My father works at Sparrow, and my mother is a social worker — both earned graduate degrees from MSU.
This place is, undoubtedly, my home. And I care deeply about what happens here.
And having lived here as long as I have, I know precisely how one-of-a-kind East Lansing Info is. Never in my life has a publication existed to only cover East Lansing. Sure the other Lansing outlets will cover MSU sports and major news, but ELi is doing the yeoman’s work.
That’s another important layer of why I love working at ELi: It does the unglamorous, oft-dry, but ever-so-valuable work of covering all the various appendages of a local government. ELi’s coverage includes City Council, ELPD, ELFD, the Planning Commission, the School Board, the Downtown Development Authority, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Human Rights Commission, the Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission, and many, many others.
That sort of reporting used to be superfluous, packed in the pages of local papers all over the country, the sort of stuff that wasn’t around anymore 10 years ago.
But now it’s back and available in East Lansing – not just to a subscriber, but anyone who can get on the internet. And that’s because ELi is a non-profit.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, ELi is almost entirely reliant on the dollars of everyday community members. People who see the value in having access to information for not only for themselves but also for others are what keeps ELi going.
It’s very heartening for a journalist just starting to see that there is not just a tenuous, but viable path forward for local news and it’s even more fulfilling to help move ELi down that path.
And that’s why I report for ELi.
Want to help keep this virtuous cycle of donations-turned-news-production going in East Lansing?