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If you want more investigative work, we need your support

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

We are increasingly receiving tips like

  • Please check into why so many employees are leaving [insert government agency]
  • Check out the organizational changes at [insert government agency]
  • Please report on a specific story
  • Have you read this contract on [government agency’s] consent agenda?
  • Have you seen this report from [government agency’s advisory board]?
  • Do you know about this criminal investigation?
  • Can you report on this information about a candidate for local office?

Traditionally, news outlets have reporters dedicated investigative work, but they have increasingly squandered those resources to push narratives rather than honestly holding government accountable. Most news outlets also have separate employees to cover the county commission, city commission, and school board meetings; crime; business; website management; advertising; and so on.

Investigative work involves making public records requests, following up on them, going through the resulting documents (many of which are irrelevant but must be read), seeing what’s there, researching the background of the allegation, and framing it all into a story that makes sense to a reader who is unfamiliar with the issues. Every assertion in the story must be supported with evidence. It’s very time-consuming.

If you want us to do more, we need to pay people to do it, and that means we need a predictable income stream. We encourage everyone to set up a recurring monthly payment through the donation link found on every page of the site – any amount helps. If you prefer to send checks, you may be able to set up a recurring payment from your bank’s web site. We also now take Venmo (@alachuachronicle). Think of it as your newspaper subscription (in November 2019, a monthly subscription to the Gainesville Sun cost over $50/month).

If you are a person with disposable income who believes that independent local reporting is important, please consider a significant donation. An “angel” donor would enable us to bring people on board who can dig into the tips we receive, as well as helping with reporting on government meetings (as we’ve said repeatedly, we would love to cover the smaller cities). We would love to cover high school sports, and we would like to add obituaries. We could do more stories like the one we broke recently about the Sheriff withdrawing personnel from joint task forces.

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Advertising is also very helpful – rates and details are here – because, again, it is a predictable income stream.

However you choose to support us, we simply encourage you to consider setting up a monthly payment right now, if you haven’t already done so (if you have, thank you!).

Donations to Alachua Chronicle are not tax-deductible.