We kicked off our 2022 NewsMatch campaign with an ambitious goal: raise $30,000 by Dec. 31.
In doing so, we would also unlock up to $17,000 in matching funds and bonuses. This $47,000, combined with additional monthly income from new members – almost 100 of you since Nov. 1 – would allow us to enter 2023 with the funding in place to publish for the entire calendar year.
And thanks to you, our community, we’re almost there.
With just two weeks left, we only need to raise another $1,700 to reach our $30,000 goal. In addition, if we sign up just seven more new members (monthly donors), we will also unlock another $1,000 bonus.
At this point in the campaign, we also want to share that we have a plan in place that we believe can help Matter News reach sustainability.
To start with, I’ll be locked in place as the editor for the entirety of 2023. We will also be able to hire a part-time fellow for the full year to focus on large donor fundraising and sponsorships. Collectively, this will put us on strong footing now and into the future.
Some of you are aware of my history in Columbus. For those who aren’t, let me just share that I am intensely passionate about this work. When I was the editor of Columbus Alive, we worked tirelessly to cover the city’s rich cultural scene, while still engaging in impactful long-form reporting.
Working together, me and Joel Oliphint – now doing incredible work at Columbus Monthly – produced the first in-depth piece on Worthington native Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. In 2019, I reported on the multiple accusations of sexual assault made by women against Actual Brewing founder Fred Lee. The brewery closed the day the piece was published and filed for bankruptcy a week later. The following year, I went deep on a series of racist online attacks made by a group of students in Bexley, helping ignite needed discussion within the city.
Beyond issue-oriented reporting, we took immense pride in being an outlet that often provided the city’s artists, musicians, writers and community builders with their first platform, and a place to tell their story in greater detail.
And that type of publication has been missing since Gannett shuttered Alive earlier this year. I know I’ve felt that absence. And in conversations with dozens of Columbus creatives these last few months, I’ve learned I’m not alone.
Matter isn’t Columbus Alive. But given time I’m confident it will uncover its own, equally vital voice.
We launched a revamped Matter News on Nov. 1. In that time, we’ve already published more than 30 features that, collectively, begin to paint a picture of what I believe this site could be.
Here’s a sampling:
-MacArthur genius Hanif Abdurraqib wrote lovingly about the end of Writers’ Block Poetry Night, which he credited with helping him find his voice as a poet and writer.
-Suzanne Goldsmith spent time at Sanctuary Night to learn about a new artist-in-residency program at the West Side drop-in shelter for women who live hard lives that often include addiction, homelessness, poverty and sex work.
-Columnist Jack Shuler produced a pair of pieces focused less on the devastation brought about by the ongoing opioid epidemic than the folks working to inject some hope into the conversation, including preacher and policy-changed Blyth Barnow.
-A mural of Mayahuel painted at 934 Gallery by Cat Ramos, Isabel Francis Bongue and Vrinda Munoz set off a firestorm within the local art community, raising questions related to race and censorship.
-And in recent weeks, the right wing has targeted a local homeless advocate and the Columbus drag community. In both instances, we followed up with a detailed report.
This is just a small fraction of what we’ve accomplished in the last six weeks. Now imagine what we can do with the site knowing that I’ll be in place for an entire year. Twelve months is enough time to potentially build something transformative. I’ve had a hand in building that kind of publication before, and I wouldn’t have stepped into this role if I didn’t believe that we could do it again.
It’s that sense of possibility that we are asking you to invest in now.
If you are able to make a donation, it’s your chance to be a part of what comes next. And even if you can't, you can still help us by spreading the word.
Please, join me.