It would be nearly impossible to quantify the number of shortened vacations, missed birthdays, holidays worked, 12-hour work days, weekend shifts and foregone time with friends our newsroom staffers have racked up over the years. It likely would be terrifying to pick a random reporter or editor and check their blood pressure on deadline. But as much as the lost time and elevated stress might sting, none of us would trade our calling for memories we never made.
At the risk of sounding saccharine, all of those things are secondary to our mission as local journalists. No matter what anyone else says, we believe that change and, by extension, democracy are rooted in local communities. And we are dedicated to the goal of improving those small democracies with high-quality watchdog journalism. And so we forego weekend trips and time with friends and birthday parties to make sure Charlottesville, Albemarle County and our neighboring localities have access to the best coverage we can muster.
In the four years since I came back the The Daily Progress, that has included our Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the deadly Unite the Right rally, and our Virginia Press Association Award-winning coverage of the lead-up to and aftermath of the rally. We were there for every minute of the University of Virginia men’s basketball teams rise to the NCAA National Championship. And along the way, we have kept tabs on Charlottesville officials’ use of government-issued credit cards, the historic removal of Albemarle County’s statue of a Confederate soldier and the bitter struggle to remove Charlottesville’s statues of Confederate Gens. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee. All while maintaining our tireless, daily coverage of local governing bodies, school divisions and other boards and commissions.
And even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen our staff become almost fully remote, we have kept up the pace of coverage. Our reporters have logged in to virtual government meetings via Zoom, kept track of the local authorities’ emergency ordinances and provided unflinching coverage of the pandemic in our community, particularly its effect on schools and UVa. We will continue that pace in a mostly virtual environment as long as the pandemic necessitates.
From mundane to monumental, we are reliable, accurate and fair, and universally apply an unmatched standard of quality to our stories and photography.
But now, we need something from you. As our industry grows more competitive and local print advertising dollars dwindle every year, it is more important than ever that we grow our number of digital subscribers. Becoming a Daily Progress digital subscriber is inexpensive, easy and gets you access to the same coverage you are used to in our print edition, as well as videos, photo galleries and source material that cannot be reproduced in print. If you sign up between now and Monday, you’ll get your first five months of online access for just $5. It’s not easy to stretch $5 further than that.
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