In the course of our lives, we’re members of many communities.
I hope you will consider either joining or renewing your membership in The Charlotte News community. Your invitation will arrive in your mailbox in 10 days; it’s our year-end fundraising appeal.
We join communities to be with people who share our interests, values or goals. In these communities, we enjoy the benefits of friendship, of personal and professional growth, of working and playing together, and achieving goals we hold in common.
Over the years, my life has been enriched by those who shared my interest in and passion for the game of squash, ecological design, organic gardening, tango, renewable energy, documentaries and New Zealand.
I’ve also been a member of The Charlotte News community for many years. In 2020, there were 600 of us. We donate our time, serve on the board, advertise in the paper, staff the newsroom, report town news, write stories on a diverse range of topics and make financial gifts.
The Charlotte News community is not homogeneous. We hold diverse political views and affiliations. Some of us are employed, other are stay-at-home parents; some are retired, and others run their own businesses. We may have kids in school or in college, or we may be in full-on grandparent mode. We may be Catholic, Congregationalist or agnostic. We hold different opinions on a wide range of town issues.
We hold in common our belief in the power and value of local, nonprofit, community journalism, and so we give our time, talents and money to support our local paper.
Nancy Wood is our founding member. Together, with an energetic crew of 33 kids as the volunteer staff and a few adults guiding their efforts, she was responsible for the first issue of the paper. It was published on July 17, 1958, when her horse Sox was for sale. In July 2017, Nancy wrote, “It pleases me to know that my own stubborn horse contributed to starting this paper that now, 60 years later, still chronicles the stories of our town.” Today, Nancy volunteers her time and talents as an advisor to the News.
Beth Merritt is another longstanding community member. In early 1994, Beth was part of the group that worked with James Lawrence when he took over as editor to keep the News from being taken private. Later, she was one of the proofreaders who met on Sundays wherever they managed to find space around town—one editor’s dining room table, the Congregational Church basement, the News office on Ferry Road. Now Beth copyedits and proofreads online at home, a much different experience.
In 1994, Elizabeth Bassett was submitting occasional columns about volunteering on the Rescue Squad, when James Lawrence asked her to join the paper’s group of volunteers. Over the years Elizabeth has served as co-editor, regular contributor, board member and columnist. Today, Elizabeth writes our popular Outdoors column, a gift she first gave the paper way back in 2009.
If you’re an active member of The Charlotte News community—like Nancy, Beth, Elizabeth and many others—you have our sincere thanks. If not, please respond to the invitation that will arrive in your mailbox in 10 days or so— and thanks so much for considering The Charlotte News as you plan your year-end giving.