How you can help Current tell public media’s stories

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I’m excited to announce that Current is recruiting another reporter. This hire will restore a position that opened in 2018 and that I made the difficult decision not to fill. It was part of a strategy to significantly boost our freelance budget with the intention of recruiting more contributors of color to our content.  

Through careful stewardship and conservative budgeting, Current can now afford to hire a third journalist to join our editorial staff. The response to our job announcement has been incredibly gratifying.

Our data tracking diversity of freelancers and outside contributors now show that the proportion of writers of color mirrors CPB’s latest calculation of diversity in public media’s workforce — 26% of our writers are people of color. This is good news, but not good enough. We can and will do better — and we hope public media will also do better!

We are truly looking forward to onboarding a journalist who can enhance, expand and deepen our coverage and service to you. We recognize that there are things we haven’t been able to cover because of the limits of our staff size. If there are areas of our coverage that you find wanting, or important stories we’ve missed, please send me your ideas. We want to meet your information needs, and we need to hear from you.

I want to thank the many stations that have maintained or even upgraded their subscriptions to include all staff, despite revenue challenges and, in some cases, layoffs. Your subscriptions represent Current’s largest source of revenue.

The number of “universal subscribers” to Current is at an all-time high. These stations know a terrific deal when they see one: an affordable professional development benefit for their entire staff; a 15% discount on postings to; exclusive access to the Public Media Job Description Depot; and priority registration to sponsor a booth at the space-limited annual Public Media Virtual Career Fair in March. Station leaders who subscribe for all their employees clearly recognize the essential value of Current’s service and the importance of providing news and inspiration to their teams.

A leader of one small station recently told me that most of its new staffers have come from outside of public media. It’s been hard to convince candidates to relocate to its city, even though the cost of living is low and the university benefits are pretty good. This station executive recognized that Current is a great source of onboarding, orientation, education and connection for people new to this field.

To be frank, Current has been able to survive the sad fate of so many legacy news publications because of public media leaders and funders who see unique value in what we do. You subscribe. You advertise. You promote your job openings with us. And you donate to let us know that you support our work.

It ain’t easy being a nonprofit news organization, but we’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to provide a relevant and useful service for 43 years! We’ve made it to this point and now thrive because of many things we’ve done — pivoting to digital, launching new content projects and products, and diversifying our revenues — and also because of the support of the public media community. With an investment from the Wyncote Foundation, we became part of the American University School of Communication. Wyncote has been a very generous supporter for more than a decade. We are thankful to INN for including us in NewsMatch and to the Knight Foundation for sponsoring our annual job fair. And, of course, we are grateful to receive donations from so many readers like you.

Please answer the call to donate (as generously as you are able) during our end-of-year fundraising campaign. Your donations will be doubled through Dec. 31 by NewsMatch and the Wyncote Foundation. We want and need your support. We truly appreciate your gifts and all the gifts you bring to public media.

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