Cardinal News has added its seventh reporter. Tad Dickens has joined the staff as a technology reporter.

Tad Dickens.
Tad Dickens

Dickens is a 24-year veteran of The Roanoke Times — and worked for the Bristol Herald Courier before that — so he knows well the communities in Cardinal’s footprint.

Dickens has covered multiple beats, including local government, the court system and, for 16 years, the region’s music scene. For the past two years, he’s been a features editor. He’s also a drummer for two Roanoke-area bands. 

Cardinal News launched in September 2021 with two reporters, and has tripled its reporting strength in less than two years, making it the fastest-growing news organization in the state.

Cardinal identified technology as an area of coverage that it sought to fill due to the growth of the region’s tech sector. Last year, the Brookings Institute reported that the New River Valley had the third fastest-growing technology employment in the country. Cardinal’s communities have also fielded two bids for one of the 20 regional technology hubs that the U.S. Commerce Department will designate.

Cardinal was able to add the technology beat thanks to a grant from Verge, and its alliance members that include the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and RAMP, the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program.

“Philanthropic support is essential to our ability to provide the people of our communities with the news coverage they deserve,” said Luanne Rife, Cardinal News executive director. “We are so grateful to Verge for its substantial support, and for recognizing the important role journalists play in keeping people informed about important topics.”

Cardinal recently announced that it had secured funding for an eighth reporting position, and is currently recruiting candidates for its health beat.

Cardinal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on philanthropy from foundations, corporations and individuals. Funders have no role in news decisions; see our policy.