Appalachian news vets exit the daily newspaper & start a growing non-profit — The Cardinal News.


On February 27th, the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan published a story entitled, “This rural news start-up has two reporters and an editor with no broadband. Already, it’s made an impact,” and suddenly, the entire world is made aware of the story of an Appalachian digital-only news site called The Cardinal News.

Founded in July of 2021 and going live a few months later, this online-only, non-profit news operation owes its start to a grant of $100,000 and now survives on donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. And with this initial seed money, some local key editorial veterans were able to elect to exit the largest daily newspaper in the area, Lee Enterprises' Roanoke (VA) Times, to build this news start-up.

Realtime digital audience Location "Bubble Map" supplied by the Cardinal News

As funding grows, so does the influence of their reporting. The Cardinal News' November of 2021 story on a major flood that ravaged the small community of Hurley, VA, helped amplify the resident's plight so they could get the help needed from the state government. In fact, the website's audience is not just their primary area of service defined as "Southwest and Southside Virginia." Their daily Google Analytics clearly shows that their second-largest audience "cluster" is the state capital of Richmond.

In this 130th episode of "E&P Reports," meet two former editorial staff members of Lee Enterprises’ Roanoke (VA) Times, Luanne Rife and Dwayne Yancey, who both resigned to start this growing online-only, non-profit start-up, The Cardinal News, as their Executive Director/ Chief Development Officer and Editor-in-Chief (respectively).


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