Celebrating 50 Stories of The Hudson Editorial
Read about the beginning of this project as I offer my gratitude for the continued support received for it.
To my friends, supporters, and readers,
Six months ago The Hudson Editorial launched. Since then I have made 50 posts. I have provided regular coverage of the Wheeling City Council and various Commissions, Committees, and Boards. Often, I have been one of few–if not the only–attending party to these proceedings.
As well, I have published three audio projects–an interview with Wheeling Councilor Rosemary Ketchum, Ward 3, with Rica Dabney, owner of Just Me & More Salon, and an ‘audio mosaic’ featuring eleven people who chose West Virginia as their home despite being born elsewhere.
I even broke a story about a buried railcar in downtown Wheeling containing “what smells like aged diesel.” At the time of reporting, I was the only person reporting on the discovery.
In February, when I began writing, there were many sparks that led to this fire.
I have always wanted to work in the media. In middle school, my friend and I would act out bigfoot hunts or original skits for fun. I had a, now deleted, YouTube channel where I would vlog to my twenty odd subscribers–even achieving a small fanclub of my friend’s cousins in Michigan.
For years now, I have searched job boards for journalism jobs, ultimately being discouraged by the requirements for a degree in journalism. In fact, I never took a class in media production, nor did I graduate college due to financial constraints in my junior year.
Dismayed, but undeterred, I kept the dream of writing alive.
When I rejoined social media in January 2023, I followed a start-up media organization called Black By God. I got one of their papers at the Public Market in Wheeling and I was intrigued by the stories centering Black voices in West Virginia–stories I had never heard before.
Shortly after following their Twitter page they launched a new initiative called Folk Reporters.
In short, Black By God was calling for every day West Virginians to attend their local government meetings and report on them for the community. While I was intrigued by the idea, my first reaction was concern; not of the project, but a concern that it wasn’t for me.
Looking back at this moment I laugh. What a self-absorbed opinion! But at the time I was worried I would be stepping on the toes of other Black reporters. This misguided concern was quickly quashed in the matter of weeks.
At that time West Virginia was considering HB 2007–a bill seeking to ban gender confirming care in the state. A public hearing was called and an overwhelming majority of respondents showed up to speak against the proposal sharing extremely personal and emotional accounts.
Despite the public’s plea to reject the proposal the bill passed, albeit with some caveats for people to continue care. This was my wake up call. I asked myself, “If not now, when?”
I remembered the poem, “First they came”, contemplating if I didn’t speak up now who would speak up for me?
The public hearing was Thursday, February 2. On Tuesday, February 6, I attended my first City Council meeting in Wheeling.
That Wheeling City Council meeting turned out to be an important night. Councilors and Mayor Glenn Elliott unanimously approved the CROWN Act codifying protections for “hair textures and protective hairstyles historically associated with a particular race” under the definition of “discrimination because of race.” This was my ‘aha’ moment.
Not only was this first interaction with municipal government the most consequential vote in my six months of reporting, but it affected Black West Virginians, harkening back to Black By God who originally inspired my reporting.
Since then I felt emboldened to continue. I began attending more niche meetings–like the Arts & Cultural Commission and Human Rights Commission–and asking citizens and elected officials for comment. I stood beside reporters from established media organizations nervous, but confident.
What’s been most surprising has been the outpouring of support for the work I do.
While I commemorate 50 stories posted, I am also celebrating 100 subscribers to The Hudson Editorial. All my content is free, but 20% of those subscribers have chosen to pay for my work.
Many have shared statements of support. People in Wheeling have told me they rely on my coverage to stay up-to-date on local issues. Some elected officials and city employees have remarked on the quality of my stories. And, most shocking to me, several established journalists in the state, who I look up to, have complimented my reporting.
When I first got this overwhelmingly positive feedback I thought they were just niceties. Now, though, I understand it is genuine–and it is much appreciated. These comments push me to keep posting and to keep improving as I fine tune my research, fact-checking, and writing style.
So, as I celebrate six months, 50 posts, and 100 supporters, I am filled with gratitude.
From the bottom of my heart: thank you to all those who have read my posts, shared them, and subscribed, and especially to those who have supported my work financially. Here’s to many to the next 50 stories.
Sincerely, with much love,
The Hudson Editorial
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