By Kara Andrade and Angie Newsome

This week I dreamed about a hummingbird. In the dream, my mother had smuggled the iridescent blue and green hummingbird to an apartment we had fixed up for her somewhere in New York City. I was horrified that she had done this in the dream, but she asked, “How could we leave it behind?” The fact that the hummingbird survived a towel thrown over it and then carried into a blue mop bucket and probably carted, no doubt, on the subway, is definitely the stuff of dreams. But when I opened up the towel it flew into the enclosed atrium we had prepared for plants. I marveled at the resilience of it and its immediate flight toward the sun.

“Hummingbird” by szeke is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A hummingbird can signal many things — challenging times being over and the beginning of healing, an imminent spring — bringing hope in things to come. For mi abuela, my grandmother, hummingbirds were an omen of good luck, and sometimes, she would say softly as a whisper that it meant the spirit of a loved one was near. The fact that abuela was in the dream sitting at the table watching me release the bird did not escape me.

Angie Newsome, the founder of Wmforo, and I carry this spirit of good things to come with the current restructuring Wmforo is embarking upon. In the previous editor’s notebook, “Editor’s notebook: beginner’s mind, magazine mind,” readers learned that at the start of 2023 the CPP news team and staff are “embracing a beginner’s mind, seeing our work with fresh eyes and creating new possibilities in our reporting, how to present it to meet our mission and to better connect with the communities we serve.” Specifically, there was a transition away from newspaper to magazine-style format and publishing.

Now the focus will be on restructuring the organization and the newsroom. This includes adding two new positions, such as the membership manager and democracy reporter; reworking and filling the investigative reporter, Eastern North Carolina government accountability reporter and director of audience and engagement positions. More on each position below:

Leadership and Operations

Newsroom

Right now, Wmforo has around 600 sustaining members, just a few years after we launched our membership program (during a pandemic, no less). You, the members who make Wmforo possible, deserve attention and programming. The membership manager will help create those opportunities and encourage more of our audience to financially support Wmforo — North Carolina’s only wholly independent nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative and in-depth reporting for the entire state. Right now, less than 1% of our readers financially support our work. The membership manager will help change that — and provide incentives and programming to encourage more readers to support journalism as it should be.

The thinking behind the democracy reporter position is that small-town, small-city and rural voters shape national politics and the public, media and political agendas. Political interests are still invested heavily in rural voters — voters who are often on the receiving end of communication strategies to spread disinformation and ignite fears that deepen urban-rural divides. These stories need to be told. The understanding is that covering threats to democracy in North Carolina may lead to increased accountability, greater civic participation and a public that is better informed about issues that impact all North Carolinians.

The investigative reporter will focus on accountability reporting and on project-based, in-depth and investigative reporting. Our previous lead investigative reporter, Kate Martin, produced high-impact local, regional and statewide reporting that helped lead to local and statewide criminal and civil investigations of the misconduct of public officials to local policy and statewide law changes to national policy changes that improved access to sexual assault nurse examiners across the country. In order to keep up the news pace and to do even more journalism in service of North Carolinians, the investigative reporter will be hired quickly. The focus remains to focus on stories that are overlooked or underrepresented.

The postcard of the future for CPP continues to be that it is the not-for-profit news organization known for government accountability journalism and journalism that shines a light onto deserving issues. The restructuring of the organization and newsroom is one part of the larger vision.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Send an email to [email protected].

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