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!