Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The Athens County Independent empowers community engagement through accessible public service journalism.

Our Vision

We will be Athens County’s trusted, go-to news source, empowering all residents to drive change toward a more fair, connected and participatory community.

Our Values

  • Empowerment. Free, comprehensive local journalism supports a thriving democracy and community.
  • Respect. Our coverage is fair, inclusive, and respectful of all residents’ experiences — countering destructive narratives about Appalachia.
  • Accessibility. We present complex information in a way everyone can understand for free.
  • Accuracy. We recognize what we don’t know, and if we make a mistake, we’ll own it. Objectivity is a method for gathering and reporting the news. Where there’s bullshit, we’ll call bullshit.
  • Independence. Our reporting is independent from advertisers, funders, and authorities.
  • Fun. Because!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Athens County Independent?

We’re an independent, nonprofit, locally governed and operated news source for Athens County. 

Through regular coverage of all Athens County communities, we will bring people together, enhance civic engagement, and foster discussion on local issues as well as the bright spots.

Why do we need nonprofit news?

Since 2008, nearly 2,000 newspapers have closed; newsroom employment has fallen 26%; and communities have lost nearly 60% of their newspaper journalists. The effect has been palpable both locally and nationally—but increasingly, nonprofit news is filling the gaps. 

Through over 400 newsrooms launched during the past 12 years, nonprofit news outlets reach virtually every American. And the fastest growing sector of nonprofit news is local news.

The best part? This growth is sustainable. More than 93% of nonprofit news startups make it through their first five years.

These outlets are restoring regular coverage of public meetings, advancing corporate and government accountability, enhancing civic engagement, and keeping people informed on what’s happening in their communities. The Independent aims to do the same.

How will the Independent be different?

To us, Athens County is home. Our staff and board are all longtime or lifelong residents of southeastern Ohio. We’re committed to keeping you—our families, friends and neighbors—informed about what’s going on in Athens County, and we’re in it for the long haul.

Nonprofit newsrooms: 

  • Are driven by public news needs—because they’re funded through public support.
  • Are built as community trusts that can’t be sold.
  • Earn trust through transparency.
  • Deliver inclusive, in-depth, high-quality coverage.

How will you make money?

Nonprofit newsrooms rely on direct community support through donations and memberships, as well as earned revenue such as sponsorships and local advertising. The money we make goes back into the enterprise to enhance and expand our mission. Support correlates directly to quality: The more funding we get, the more news we can deliver.  

Help by donating today, and stay on the lookout as we prepare to launch a membership program later this fall! 

What’s with the possum?

We knew early on that we wanted a mascot that reflected who we are. Appalachia has lots of amazing native animals, like the red fox, the box turtle and the hellbender. But we chose Didelphis virginiana because its characteristics are a good match for ours. 

1) Opossums are America’s only native marsupial. Like us, they are homegrown and unique!

2) Opossums are highly resistant to rabies and immune to most snake venom. You won’t see us foaming at the mouth or falling prey to insidious influence, either.

3) Opossums are tick-eating machines, eliminating bloodsucking, disease-carrying parasites. We counteract misinformation and BS that infects our public conversation. 

4) Opossums are scavengers, vital to maintaining a clean environment. By monitoring power, we shine a light into the darkest corners of public institutions—and spotlight the good stuff, too. 

5) Opossums are highly adaptable to changes in habitat. We’re proof that good journalism can thrive anywhere!

How can I stay up to date with what you’re doing?

We’re publishing a limited amount of local news content each month, as we scale up our operations going into 2023. 

You can stay up to date by subscribing to our monthly email newsletter, The Indy—where we share news as we publish it, along with updates on our progress.

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