VTDigger hires four new staffers

From left to right: Alicia Freese, Andrew Stein, Nat Rudarakanchana, Bryan Campbell. New VTDigger staff, Oct. 14, 2012. Photo by Cate Chant

From left to right: Alicia Freese, Andrew Stein, Nat Rudarakanchana, Bryan Campbell. New VTDigger staff, Oct. 14, 2012. VTD Photo/Cate Chant

VTDigger, Vermont’s independent online news source, has hired four new employees. The staffers include a web developer, two reporters and a part-time editorial/administrative assistant.

VTDigger’s investment in staff is evidence of the Vermont Journalism Trust’s ongoing commitment to support the publication of hard-hitting daily reporting on Vermont politics and a wide range of public policy topics, ranging from health care reform to energy, business, education, human services, the environment and state finances.

The Vermont Journalism Trust is a 501(c)3 nonprofit; VTDigger is a project of the Trust.

Anne Galloway, executive director of the nonprofit Vermont Journalism Trust and editor of VTDigger, says, “The Trust is dedicated to supporting high-quality in-depth reporting on the biggest public policy matters facing our state. With additional staff resources, we hope to intensify our coverage of the issues Vermonters care about most.”

A year ago, VTDigger had four staffers. Today the news organization, based in Montpelier, has eight employees — five full-time and three part-time.

VTDigger offers a free daily subscription and feeds of breaking news and in-depth reporting on Vermont politics and statewide issues, plus op-eds, cartoons, video, aggregated news, an events calendar and community press releases. Our comment section is one of our most popular features, with dozens of readers engaging in an open debate on the issues. Through our Tipster project, we offer an anonymous tip form, a report an error form and access to original source materials via Document Cloud.

The growth in VTDigger’s staff is tied to reader demand for content.

VTDigger’s readership has grown by 50 percent in the last year. The online-only, daily publication has more than 65,000 unique readers per month. In the last year, VTDigger had 2.5 million pageviews.

In addition, VTDigger’s stories are published or broadcast by our news partners: the Caledonian-Record, the Valley News, the Vermont Business Magazine, WDEV and the commonsnews.org. Through the election season, we are collaborating with Seven Days newspaper on a weekly Fact Checker feature that is simultaneously published by both media organizations.

The Vermont Journalism Trust’s nonprofit business structure is similar to the public radio model. We rely on donations from readers, grants, philanthropy, news revenue and business sponsorships (the nonprofit equivalent of advertising).

Two of the new staffers are funded through foundations. Our health care and energy reporter was hired thanks to the generous support of our readers and sponsors, the Knight Community Information Challenge, the Vermont Community Foundation and the High Meadows Fund. Our web developer is funded through a generous grant from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation.

Meet the new members of the VTDigger team

Bryan Campbell

Web developer

Bryan Campbell

Bryan Campbell/VTDigger

Bryan Campbell is VTDigger’s web developer. He comes to us from Vermont Public Television, where he held his first web developer job after earning a certificate in Web Development and Administration from Champlain College. He started writing programs in BASIC at age 9, teaching himself from a book; at VTDigger, he considers the coding aspect the best part of his job. He has a B.A. in history from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass. Bryan grew up in northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire so naturally his sports allegiances lie with all teams Boston – Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots. He also enjoys the outdoors – hiking, sailing, snowboarding and backpacking, and time with his family, as well as science fiction and playing the guitar. He lives in Burlington with his wife Sarah, and their two children, Noah, 4, and Audrey, 2.

Alicia Freese

Editorial/administrative assistant

Alicia Freese/VTDigger

Alicia Freese/VTDigger

Alicia Freese is an editorial and administrative assistant at VTDigger. After receiving a B.A. in international relations from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., she worked as a media associate at ReThink Media, an organization building communications capacity among progressive foreign policy organizations. While out West, she also wrote for Bay Nature Magazine, a publication covering environmental news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Inspired by the investigative reporting she observed in the foreign policy arena, and eager to return to her home state and re-immerse herself in Vermont politics, she naturally ended up at VTDigger’s doorstep.

Nat Rudarakanchana

Reporter

Nat Rudarakanchana, politics and business reporter for VTDigger

Nat Rudarakanchana VTDigger

Nat Rudarakanchana is a recent graduate of New York’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he specialized in politics and investigative reporting. He graduated from Cambridge University with a B.A. in philosophy: hence, the slightly odd accent. Raised in Hong Kong in a Thai family, he has interned for the Bangkok Post and The New Paper, with experience reporting across several Asian countries. Nat enjoys news photography and state and city politics. He can be reached at at 917-514-0964, or [email protected]. He’s on Twitter at @natrudy.

Andrew Stein

Reporter

Andrew Stein/VTDigger

Andrew Stein/VTDigger

Andrew Stein is the energy and health care reporter for VTDigger. He was a 2012 fellow at the New England First Amendment Institute and previously worked as a reporter and assistant online editor at the Addison County Independent. Andrew is a former China Fulbright Research Fellow and a graduate of Kenyon College. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has been awarded research grants from Middlebury College and the Freeman Foundation to investigate Chinese environmental policies. A member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, his work has appeared in publications such as the Math Association of America’s quarterly journal Math Horizons and Grist.org. When Andrew isn’t writing stories, he can likely be found playing Boggle with his wife, fly fishing or brewing beer. He can be reached at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Kathy Callaghan :

    Anne, congratulations on attracting such a talented staff! They look like they have a lot of energy and I’m sure they will add a lot to the “digging”! I look foward to hearing from them. Congrats again!

  2. Woot! What an extraordinary trip you are on Anne. Your leadership, determination and commitment shine through in these new young faces at VT Digger.

    Congratulations and best of luck to everyone. You are providing such an important service and resource for Vermont. Reading my digger email is one of the first and best parts of my morning!

  3. High fives and kudos are nice, but I’m sending a check to today to endorse your commitment to growing this valuable news source. I suggest everyone think about doing the same!

  4. kevin ellis :

    And may they afflict the comfortable.

    • Be careful what you wish for Kevin. ;)

  5. Ron Pulcer :

    Congratulations to Anne and all the VTDigger staff!

    BTW, last week I was in Montpelier on a Statehouse tour with my father who was visiting Vermont. Outside, I noticed 2 of the 3 C-SPAN LCV’s (Local Content Vehicles), and was able to talk with two of the C-SPAN staff, and about C-SPAN Washington Journal (one of my favorite programs).

    Anyways, it seems like VTDigger is fast becoming like the “C-SPAN of Vermont”, with coverage of the Statehouse and access to videos from committee hearings!

    Keep up the great work!

    Also, look out for the Montpelier coverage on C-SPAN2 the weekend of November 3-4!

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