Why I Report for ELi

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Dylan Lees for ELi

Managing Editor Emily Joan Elliott

Last year when I answered the question, “Why do I report for ELi?”, my response was full of excitement since I was tackling something new – a new job as East Lansing Info’s Managing Editor in a new, Covid-filled world.

In 2021, I have grown another year older, and, I hope, another year wiser. As I reflect on why I report for ELi today, I still feel the same passion for reporting, but I also am happy to see ELi grow as a community institution.

ELi’s reach has expanded in important ways during the last year. We’ve hired new reporters and given members of our team new responsibilities. I enjoy seeing our talent pool expand and members of our team work together to bring you the news.

More people in the community know us now thanks to our paper edition and podcast collaboration with Impact Radio. Michigan State University Archives recently contacted us about archiving our paper edition and our website so future generations in our community will have access to the history of our city.

After seeing our paper edition, Impact Radio reached out to ask about hosting our podcast and airing it Sunday mornings on the radio. That collaboration has helped us reach new audiences, and we know our work is in good hands with the award-winning team at Impact!

When I think of how ELi has become a community staple, without fail, I also think of the success of our “Ask ELi to Investigate” section. In 2020, we responded to about 55 inquiries. In 2021 so far, we’ve received and responded to nearly 200 submissions. Mostly they are questions, but sometimes they are tips and suggestions. Clearly, our reach and our importance are growing.

It makes me happy to receive messages that begin like this one. “Thanks so much for the work you do to keep everyone informed on the happenings in East Lansing! I live out of state but feel like I can stay connected to the city because of ELi….” That reader then continued on with a question.

Another wrote, “Dear ELi, I’ve got a question that has always bugged me….” Publisher Alice Dreger was able to answer that reader’s question and satisfy their curiosity.

Other readers express their excitement about “finally” having an Ask ELi question to submit and about the possibility of the community learning something new from their inquiry.

Our readers rely on us, and we are happy to bring them fact-filled answers.

Working as Managing Editor then gives me a sense of community in multiple ways – with my colleagues and with those who rely on us.

I also get to enjoy that sense of community as I tackle my regular reporting beats, as when I am covering East Lansing Public Schools or taking deeper looks at disparities in our communities. Sometimes the content can be upsetting or difficult to write about – after all, we have to sometimes report on violence and suffering – but I appreciate members of our community sharing their thoughts and concerns with us. It takes a lot of courage to do that, and I find it inspiring.

I know if you are reading this, you also see the value ELi has in our community. You know that our dedicated team works hard to bring you meeting updates and thorough investigative pieces. I look forward reflecting again next year on how ELi has continued to serve our community through the support of our readers.

If you make a donation now, we can double your support and keep the same quality news coming in 2022! Please, help us out today.

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