CenLamar Readers Donate $15K to Launch a New Home for Progressive Journalism in Louisiana

Less than a week ago, I announced something audacious: A plan to transition from this personal blog, which I’ve been publishing for eleven years, onto a newly-created, first-of-its-kind website for Louisiana, a non-profit news organization that specializes in issue advocacy and in-depth, quality reporting about progressive causes.

Only six days later, 121 people have, already, contributed a total of $15,000 to help turn that concept into a reality. I never once had to pick up the phone or send a single letter or e-mail. I never asked anyone individually or personally for a contribution. Each and every person who has contributed to me so far has done so because they believe in this project, because they see the real and pressing need for it, and because they understand it’s long overdue. (And I should add: Only one member of my family- an aunt- has pitched in so far. She gave $25, for which I am so thankful. But like every one else, her contribution wasn’t coerced or requested; it was an organically-sourced grassroots product).

Y’all delivered. Bigly.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that, as a result of the generosity of my readers here, I am now collaborating with a group of passionate, professional, and accomplished Louisianans to launch a new website, The Bayou Brief.

We are going to make this happen, and it will happen sooner rather than later.

But I must manage expectations, because although $15,000 for a website is a considerable and impressive haul and although it may be enough to build that website, it’s not nearly enough to operate the kind of enterprise we require in Louisiana.

We need to ensure it’s sustainable and credible and capable of regularly attracting talented, thorough, and insightful journalists.

To that end, we need dedicated sponsors who believe in this cause and who recognize the significance of our 121 angel investors, from all corners of the state.

We need partners who care deeply about issues like health care, the environment, criminal justice, so-called “tort reform,” education, government accountability, and the compounding interest we receive whenever we invest in our culture and the arts.

We have the opportunity to create something extraordinary, but if we cannot find people in Louisiana who are willing to step up in a big way, there is a risk that this new website will be yet another place that hosts cheaply-made banner ads by political campaigns and dispatches e-mail advertisements for phony merchandise to its readership, that we will eventually have to forgo our aspirations for a non-profit model in order to keep the lights on.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Let’s put all hands on deck. Let’s give a platform for independent and progressively-minded journalism that is capable of moving hearts and minds, of changing policies for the greatest good, and of speaking truth to power.

If you (or your business) are interested in investing in this project at the ground level, send me an e-mail at lamarw at gmail dot com.

I promise: We will make you proud.