100 Posts!

Words and Image by BA Ciccolella.

We are so excited to announce that after nearly 7 months, we have reached our 100th post on our website! Most of you know that Spotlight News – Hampton Roads was founded by members of the Theatre Reviewers section of the old AltDaily website. We became an official organization with the state of Virginia and purchased our URL on March 7, 2020, and our original business plan was to take it slow, and to use the reviews that we already had scheduled as our content while we reached out to local writers and slowly expanded to cover all other community content. I’m sure you all remember what happened on or about March 15, 2020 which caused us to have to throw that original business plan right out the window.

After taking a deep breath and reassessing the situation, we decided that though the universe was pushing us into the deep end before we had planned to be ready, we were going to swim. We had some long brainstorming sessions, started reaching out to community members and writers that we knew, and now Spotlight News has a private writer’s group of around 30 people on Facebook, including some of our amazing regular contributors, and also a private group of over 75 community supporters. We have elected officers, and are looking for 3 more board members this year. Apart from myself, we now have 5 other editors training to assist with website posts and social media. We are working on getting some regular columnists coordinated, and even on a possible comics section! Our business meetings are organized though our community supporters Facebook page, so if you are interested in helping, come join the group!

We have received our 501c3 status from the IRS, and we are working on the rest of the registrations needed before we can apply for grants and request donations. We hope to be able to keep expanding, and eventually pay people to edit the site, to write articles, and to manage our social media. We firmly believe that all of the skills that it takes to put together this website are valuable, and we want to work towards the financial stability where we can pay our artists, our writers, and our basic staff to keep the organization running smoothly, and continue to bring you Hampton Roads community news by our own community members.   

Regarding content, we have covered nearly 100 different community organizations, restaurants, subjects, and local persons of interest. We have covered art, bugs, dance, education, film, gaming, gardening, health, music, nature, restaurants, theatre, writers, and more! We want to thank every single organization that has worked with us and supported our efforts so far, every single person we have interviewed, every single person (or organization) who has supplied photographs, images, or videos, and every single person who has shared our Facebook posts – we would not be able to do what we do without you. 

We would be remiss not to thank (by name) Penny Neef, Louise Casini Hollis, Moriah Joy, Denise Bishop, Chris Bernhardt, Frank Connelly, and Aliki Marie Pantas Semones for really holding the company together these past seven months. From writing, to editing, to business work, to technical assistance, to social media coordination, Spotlight is a community news website that is currently run by a community of volunteers. 

If you are interested in becoming a member of our community, please contact us either by sending us a Facebook message, or emailing us here describing your interest! We are looking for board members, writers, editors, social media managers, or maybe you have an idea for something else we haven’t even thought of yet! If you don’t think you have the time for that kind of commitment, you can help us immensely by reacting to our posts and sharing our links on Facebook to help us grow our page and our community!

Again, thank you all for all of your support, and here’s to the next 100 posts!

Rainbow sequined background with two cartoon wine glasses that says to 100 more... cheers! with the spotlight logo in the top right corner.

Ghostlight – Little Theatre of Norfolk Podcast features Spotlight Writer Moriah Joy

Words by BA Ciccolella.
Image courtesy of Moriah Joy.

A huge thank you to the Little Theatre of Norfolk for hosting Spotlight’s Moriah Joy to talk about her recent article “Op-Ed: Gig Economy Work during a Pandemic”. Moriah’s interview can be found on Episode 7 of Ghostlight – The Little Theatre of Norfolk, entitled The Gig Economy: How to be a Starving Artist (pandemic not required). (Full disclosure, Moriah is also a board member at the Little Theatre of Norfolk.)

Moriah Joy's headshot.

Anyone wishing to hear Moriah (and your friendly editor, who is one of the hosts of Ghostlight – Little Theatre of Norfolk), can listen to that specific episode, or subscribe to the podcast at any of the following sites:

Spotify Google Podcasts
Apple Podcasts 
Pocket Casts

Ghostlight is also looking to continue the conversation by taking voicemails on the topic of the gig economy at 757-632-3281. Any voicemails left on this topic may be featured on a future Ghostlight episode.

Besides following us on Facebook for more community news, you can follow the Little Theatre of Norfolk on Facebook and Instagram as well! 

Spotlight News: Business Update

Words and Images by BA Ciccolella.

We wanted to take a moment today to thank everyone in the community for the support that we have received since we founded Spotlight News. It’s certainly been a weird time to start a business, but our community has come together in so many unique ways since March 7, and we appreciate every single one of you.

Today, we are announcing our first baby step on the way to growing this business- we have received confirmation of our 501c3 status from the IRS. For those of you who aren’t familiar with technical IRS tax jargon, basically this means we are officially a non-profit organization! We still have a few more steps to complete, but very soon we will be able to accept tax-deductible donations as a company. 

Anyone interested in being a future donor to Spotlight News should please feel free to contact us so that we can keep you in the loop as to where we are in our process.

In somewhat related news, we are also looking for a few more board members who are interested in helping us get this company off the ground, and who believe in our mission of providing quality community journalism to the Hampton Roads area. If you are interested in joining our board, please send a letter of interest to Moriah Joy, Secretary, Spotlight News at this email address

Again, thank you all so much for your support these last 6 months (can anyone else believe it’s been 6 months?!?). We look forward to continuing to provide and expand on our quality community journalism, and serve you, our friends and neighbors in Hampton Roads.

Hello, world!

Thank you for your interest in our Hampton Roads community. Spotlight News is a new organization determined to pick up where AltDaily and the Antonym left off. Spotlight is founded by BA Ciccolella and Frank Connelly, with help from the rest of the old AltDaily theatre reviewing staff, especially Chris Bernhardt, Ali Pantas, and Jimmy Dragas.

Wondering how you can help support us right now? Well, step one is getting out the word to the world that we are here! Please follow us on Facebook, invite your friends to do so, and share our site and our social posts far and wide!

Interested in getting involved? Though we will be starting out covering mainly the performing arts scene in Hampton Roads (as that is what we all have expertise in), we have every intention of expanding into any and all aspects of our community. If you are a writer who would like to join our mission of furthering Hampton Roads community journalism, check out our Facebook page and send us a message!

At the moment, we are a completely volunteer organization, though we would love to raise enough funds to be able to cover operating expenses, and possibly even expand on to paying our writers and editors in more than just “exposure”. If you are a granting entity or just a person with some spare cash on hand who would like to talk more about our mission, again, hit us up on our Facebook page!

We look forward to working with the Hampton Roads community! See you around!