As of today, Cardinal News has a reporter based in Bristol — Susan Cameron.
We started with two full-time staff reporters – political reporter Markus Schmidt in Richmond (the only full-time journalist in the state capital year-round representing a news organization west of Richmond, as we like to say), and business reporter Megan Schnabel in Roanoke. In June, we added Grace Mamon in Danville. And now, we have a fourth reporter, so we have doubled our reporting staff in less than a year since our launch on Sept. 27, 2021. We’ve also recently brought on a part-time copy editor and a full-time digital audience engagement editor.
You may recognize Susan’s name because she is an award-winning journalist who has covered Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee for nearly 40 years. An Alabama native, she graduated from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in communications/psychology and spent 38 years at the Bristol Herald Courier, first as a reporter who covered crime, both Bristol city governments, politics, education, health care and the environment. She then spent 25 years as city editor, handling the coverage of local news.
She is most proud of her role as lead editor of two in-depth projects. Addicted at Birth — which examined the region’s high number of babies born addicted to drugs because of their mothers use during pregnancy– won a host of awards, including the prestigious 2018 Scripps Howard Award for Local Community Journalism. Critical Mass, which delved into severe overcrowding at jails in two local communities, also won a number of honors, including the 2019 Journalistic Integrity and Community Service Award by the Virginia Press Association, and the Tennessee Bar Association’s Fourth Estate Award.
After her job was eliminated amid a corporate restructuring last February, Susan did some freelancing for Cardinal News before spending several months helping to start a new weekly newspaper in Bristol called Bristol Now.
Here are the stories Susan had for us earlier:
“Emory & Henry going through a creative reinvention.”
“Why Southwest Virginia Community College is adding housing.“
“From Whirlpool designer to Barter resident playwright.“
Cardinal is able to add this reporting position thanks to a generous grant from the Genan Foundation, started by the Worrell family which once owned the newspaper in Bristol. In announcing the grant in August, Andrew J. Dracopoli, president of the Genan Foundation, said in a statement: “The board recognizes your important work in providing non-partisan news about Southwestern and Southside Virginia, stories that are no longer being provided by traditional media. It seems particularly appropriate that we should fund a Bristol reporter given that this is where Gene and Anne Worrell started in the newspaper business.”
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Cardinal is seeking multi-year commitments to support additional reporting positions to cover education, health, technology in the Roanoke and New River valleys, as well as geographically based positions in Martinsville and Lynchburg. Cardinal News is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit. Here’s how to donate.