|Foothills Forum family:
We’ve got big news to share, an ongoing opportunity for community supporters, a peek ahead and a warm reminder of our county’s generosity of holiday spirit.
More reporting on Rappahannock’s future
The Rappahannock News will host a full-time emerging journalist focusing on Rappahannock County’s future as one of 164 newsrooms nationwide chosen to host the 2020-21 class of Report for America (RFA) journalists.
The Rapp News/Foothills Forum application was the only newsroom in the state of Virginia included in Monday’s RFA announcement, and only one of five non-daily newsrooms selected in the national competition.
The Report for America program addresses an urgent need in U.S. journalism at a time when news deserts are widening, leaving many communities uninformed and threatening democracy like never before.
RFA said 250 reporters, photographers and videographers will be selected and placed early in the new year, with about a third focused on statehouse reporting. Funded by a cadre of national foundations, RFA covers 50 percent of the reporting position’s cost for up to two years. Local funding and community support picks up the other half. Previous funding from the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s Richard Lykes Fund is part of the local match.
Last year, RFA sifted through more than 1,000 applications to place 50 RFA reporters.
The new position essentially doubles the weekly’s full-time reporting capacity. The new reporter will build upon five years of past reporting by Foothills and the News on the county’s key local issues and how they impact Rappahannock’s future.
“We offer a pretty simple fix for news holes in communities throughout the country – local reporters on the ground, who hold leaders accountable and report on under-covered issues,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America.
Nearly 50 percent of the host newsrooms are nonprofit civic news organizations like Foothills Forum.
In a breakthrough year for Foothills, this may be the most impactful of several developments. And it’s all because of consistent community support.
Speaking of which, there’s NEWS MATCH.
Our other ongoing national program is NewsMatch 2019, which continues through Dec. 31. We’re halfway through the drive to raise at least $20,000 to qualify for a 1:1 match from a pool provided by national funders. Any donation to Foothills up to the first $1,000 of any gift qualifies for the match. Tomorrow’s a big part of the campaign, with Giving Tuesday (Dec. 3) … a.k.a. Giving NEWSDay making it super easy for online donors to give at any level … from $50 … to $100 … to $250 … to $1,000. Watch your social media feed throughout December for reminders to join the fun.
Many of you have contributed generously, and we thank you. For those planning to donate, remember to date the check no later than Dec. 31, 2019.
Our new membership in INN (the Institute for Nonprofit News) qualifies Foothills Forum to participate in NewsMatch for the first time.
In the pipeline
The six-month, four-county Opioids Ripple project shows we’re able to able to stay true to our mission of reporting on Rappahannock while expanding to work jointly on regional public service projects.
We’ve got some intriguing projects in the pipeline coming in 2020 from Randy Rieland, Sara Schonhardt, Bob Hurley, Tim Carrington, John McCaslin and more. They include the update on our inaugural Rappahannock Snapshot, a look at housing based on county needs, and how our local governments fund their work. Watch for announcements and updates on the second year of the Rappahannock Public Schools/Rappahannock News/Foothills Forum essay contest.
In the spirit of the season …
One of our favorite projects this year was the first video produced by the Foothills/Rapp News team. Videographer Roger Piantadosi was hard at work this time last year to produce this charming video story of Amissville’s all-hands-on-deck holiday gift-basket tradition.
If you missed it the first time, check it out. And ‘fess up: Can you watch it dry-eyed?
And, finally, a head’s up: Don’t miss Sunday’s Christmas in Little Washington festivities.