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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Introducing The Day’s next community funded projects

    Imminent Horizons project logo

    We're launching our next community funded journalism projects Monday, and once again asking for your support.

    Why Monday? It's Earth Day, and our next in-depth investigation, called Imminent Horizons, will look at the relationship between the people of southeastern Connecticut, the environment and emerging energy technologies.

    The Day President and Publisher Timothy Dwyer helped us come up with the project name when we described our plans.

    “With what’s going on around the world, wherever you live, your view of the horizon is literally going to change, whether you like it or not, particularly in an area surrounded by water,” said Dwyer. “The changes are happening more rapidly than predicted they would. We as a local community newspaper see this issue as one of the most impactful for all our neighbors. We need additional resources to cover it as thoroughly as it deserves to be covered. We need and appreciate the help of the community in sharing this information with them.”

    More on Imminent Horizons below; but first, a brief introduction of our second new project, called the News Desert Fund.

    It’s no secret that local newsrooms, including ours at The Day, have been shrinking due to declining advertising and print circulation revenues. We’re proud to have a better staffed newsroom than many other papers and we are committed to putting out a superior print paper in addition to our digital edition on theday.com.

    But we’ve had to cut back our coverage of some towns, including Ledyard and North Stonington. That puts them at risk of becoming “news deserts,” where the residents are not kept informed, officials are not held accountable and the community is fractured.

    We’ll use donations to the News Desert Fund to hire a freelance reporter to cover those towns.

    “I wish we had the financial resources to cover more towns than we currently do, but like all newsrooms across the country, we’ve had to make tough decisions, and that included reducing the scope of our town coverage,” said Executive Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta. “I’m excited that this new fund will help us go back into those communities and cover issues important to them.”

    As we continue to hone our business model at The Day, we’ve found the community willing to help us deliver the superior content you deserve. We won awards with our first community and grant-funded project, the Housing Solutions Lab, but more importantly, we brought attention to the affordable housing crisis, and those most affected by it.

    Now, back to Imminent Horizons.

    We have many questions about the emerging narratives and science around climate change and will be listening to yours as we explore the realities of increased flooding, rising energy and insurance costs, proposed government mandates on electric cars, and the growth of the offshore wind and nuclear industries.

    Over the next few months, we’ll be applying for grants and raising funds, recruiting freelance writers, researching the issues and planning a series of factual and engaging stories.

    We’ll be collaborating with community partners and continually asking the question, “Why does this matter?” “What does it mean for us and for future generations?”

    Our only agenda is to bring the issues home to our readers by exploring how they affect us in this beautiful part of the world and how we can respond locally and as citizens of the world.

    We’ll begin publishing the majority of our stories later this year and into 2025, but prior to that, you’ll occasionally see stories with the Imminent Horizons logo, beautifully designed by former long-term Day staffer Maria Reagan, who takes on the occasional project for us.

    On Earth Day, we’ll publish the first two Imminent Horizons stories. The first, centered around Barn Island in Stonington, takes a look at the saltmarsh sparrow’s struggle for survival amid rising sea levels and over-development. The story was reported and written by the University of Connecticut’s environmental journalism class led by their professor, Christine Woodside, another former Day journalist and an accomplished environmental writer and teacher. We’ll have an additional story from Woodside and students later this spring.

    The second Earth Day story, reported by Staff Writer Daniel Drainville, is about the river herring, also known as alewife, and local restoration efforts.

    If you’re able, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Imminent Horizons or News Desert projects and tell your friends about our work. We’re once again partnering with the Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation, a non-profit organization (501c3) that serves as a our fiscal sponsor.

    To make a donation, please go to https://givebutter.com/theday.

    This is the opinion of Karen Florin, managing editor. Reach her at k.florin@theday.com or (860) 701-4217.

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.