When we launched more than eight years ago, we pledged to tell the stories no one else was telling, and to tell stories from a unique perspective. Here are a few examples of just that – secrets that would have stayed secret. Triumphs that would have gone unheralded. Important perspectives that would have been missed, but that Madison365 was here, with the trust of the community to tell its stories.
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Rumors were already circulating on social media that Kay LeClaire, a leader in Madison’s Indigenous arts community, wasn’t actually Indigenous. Members of the community trusted us to tell that story. Once we did so, the story went viral worldwide. But we didn’t leave it there, as most other media outlets did: we checked in with the community as it healed weeks later, and we were (as far as we know) the only outlet who actually talked to LeClaire.
When beloved artist Lilada Gee had a contentious encounter with an Overture Center staffer while working on a mural for a MMoCA exhibit, she came to our A. David Dahmer to tell her story – which he did. She went on to allow MMoCA to display the unfinished mural she’d been working on, but it was defaced by a patron. We reported on that, too.
The mom of an 11-year-old who was beaten by a teacher reached out to several news outlets, all of whom didn’t really seem to believe her. They didn’t want to pursue a story until they had video proof. We, on the other hand, didn’t wait. We put in the work to verify her account, and published our story. All the other outlets followed us.
In another case of earned community trust, the loved ones of Jimmie Joshua brought his disturbing story directly to us. It took months – it’s hard to get information from inside a jail, especially during a pandemic – but we reported this story through interviews, video evidence and medical records. Jimmie is currently suing the County and the jail.
One evening, the Madison Metropolitan School District announced that a staffer had been suspended for using a racial slur; most assumed it was just another in a string of white teachers. We, however, had already interviewed the staffer involved – a Black security guard named Marlon Anderson, who was responding to the same slur being used against him by a Black student. Our reporting sparked protest and prompted the school board to change its “zero-tolerance” policy. Marlon ultimately got his job back.
The untold stories aren’t always big investigations. Sometimes we highlight interesting new ideas, like this church paying a tax to Indigenous folks.
And sometimes we shine a light on people doing great things – people often ignored by the media — like an unlikely professional footballer …
… or a local (She chose Harvard, by the way, and is now a consultant in Boston.)
Many outlets reported on this photo – but only one found and talked to the photographer.
Again, many outlets reported this story – but only by regurgitating the police press release. We took the extra time to speak with the people who were there and get the full story.
So, what do you think? Are these stories – and literally thousands like them – worth a few dollars to you? If so, please make a one-time donation or join THE FAM today. NewsMatch and the Loud Hound Foundation will both MATCH your donation, dollar for dollar. There’s no better time to make a real impact in nonprofit community media!