Welcome to Cardinal News, a new nonprofit online news organization dedicated to covering Southwest and Southside Virginia.

We will formally launch later in September but we can go ahead and tell you about ourselves now. We are a team of experienced journalists who know our region and want to tell its stories. Our mission is the in-depth enterprise journalism that is often missing in the current media landscape. We are not here to cover fires and wrecks and shootings, but to connect the dots on the big trends that are shaping and re-shaping our region. No one else is reporting on these issues so we will. Our initial focus will be on the politics, economy and culture of Southwest and Southside Virginia, roughly the western third of the state that’s south of I-64.

Our news coverage will be straightforward and opinion columns will be clearly labeled. We are fiercely non-partisan. We are not an advocacy site for any cause or ideology, except perhaps our belief that Southwest and Southside Virginia deserve a voice. You can sign up for updates on this page, and help fund us by making a donation through our online donation portal.

Who we are

Our founding board consists of Debbie Meade, former publisher of The Roanoke Times; Luanne Rife, a veteran enterprise reporter, and Chris Turnbull, a longtime strategic communicator in the region and currently senior director of corporate communications for Carilion Clinic. We will be expanding this board to include representatives from throughout Southwest and Southside Virginia.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Our inaugural executive director and editor will be Dwayne Yancey, a longtime journalist at The Roanoke Times, the past seven years as editorial page editor. He is also author of a book on Virginia politics (“When Hell Froze Over”) and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.

Over the coming weeks, we will announce additional staff and freelancers. If you’re an experienced journalist who wants to work with us, contact us at news@cardinalnews.org. UPDATE Sept. 13: Markus Schmidt, who previously covered politics for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, will be our political reporter. He’ll be based in Richmond and gives us something other news media in Southwest and Southside haven’t had in eight years: A full-time state Capitol bureau covering state government from the perspective of this side of the state.

We’ve put together a journalism advisory committee that includes a former publisher of The Roanoke Times (Debbie Meade), four former editors or managing editors of The Roanoke Times (Caroline Glickman, Rich Martin, Joe Stinnett and Carole Tarrant), two former editors of the (Lynchburg) News & Advance (Glickman and Stinnett), the former news director of WDBJ-TV (Kelly Zuber), author Beth Macy and veteran journalists Lawrence Emerson of Fauquier County, Leslie Taylor of Roanoke and Ben R. Williams of Henry County.

We’ve also assembled a community advisory committee. As a sign of our commitment to non-partisanship, it includes two former members of Congress, one from each party – Republican Bob Goodlatte of Roanoke County and Democrat Rick Boucher of Abingdon. Other members include Dayo Abah, head of the journalism department at Washington and Lee University, Erin Burcham of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, retired public health director Dr. Molly O’Dell of Buchanan, retired Transportation Museum director Bev Fitzpatrick Jr., former Roanoke Times CFO Tonya Hart, former public relations executive Larry Hincker of Blacksburg, and executive and communicator Mary Trigiani of Abingdon.

You can read our press release here.

Blacksburg, VA. Photo by Caleb White on Unsplash.

Why Southwest and Southside Virginia?

This is our home. These are two very different regions of the state but they share many things in common. Among them: They’re increasingly left behind in a state that’s dominated by the urban crescent from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads and they’re both faced with inventing new economies after traditional employers have declined. They’re also left behind by legacy news organizations that have cut their staffs deeply and no longer support in-depth reporting. We are here to tell the stories that others aren’t telling.

Photo by Josh Durham on Unsplash

How we’re funded

We’re funded by you.

  • We have no paywall and we do not sell advertising. We rely 100% on donations.
  • We will disclose all donors of $100 and up; you’ll find the full list once our site is up and running in September.  As of Sept. 1, we have received generous early support of $100,000 each from The Secular Society, Carilion Clinic and Dominion Energy, and significant donations and pledges from American National Bank, Ben and Betty Davenport, Bev Fitzpatrick Jr., Heywood Fralin, William Fralin, Bob and Maryellen Goodlatte, Kenneth and Debra Landgraf, Anna Lawson, Rich Martin, Debbie Meade, Luanne Rife, Leslie Taylor, Carole Tarrant and David Wine. We have no “dark money” behind us. We also reserve the right to refuse any donation that we feel may impinge on our mission.
  • If you’d like to make a donation, you can go through our online donation portal or send a check to Cardinal Productions, P.O. Box 4455, Roanoke, VA 24015. We have applied for 501c3 non-profit status.
  • Please note that donor contributions have no influence on our news coverage. That’s written directly into our by-laws. Plus, it’s a requirement for membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News, which we intend to join once we are eligible.

Want to know more?

You can sign up for updates on this page, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Or email us at news@cardinalnews.org.