Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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From Tiffany Henyard drama to the TF North Drama Team

The Lansing Journal was there

LANSING, Ill. (April 18, 2024) – I’ve been thinking about two different stories we published last month, on the same day, March 26.

One was about Thornton Township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard and the drama surrounding the board meeting after her mental health referendum was defeated. Henyard derided voters for being “brainwashed,” “hoodwinked,” and “led astray.” As is typical whenever we publish a story with “Tiffany Henyard” or “Thornton Township” in the headline, that article quickly racked up thousands of views.

The same day, we published a story about the TF North Drama Team winning the school’s first-ever state championship. They returned triumphantly home with medals and trophies, and they joyfully shared their success. These kids deserve to have their story told, and our community deserves to know how proudly they represented us on the downstate stage.

Exultant drama team members streamed off the bus, state championship trophy in hand, on Sunday, March 24, 2024. It was TF North’s first championship win at any state-level competition. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Lansing Journal was the only news outlet covering both stories. We were in the Thornton Township board room for the special meeting convened by the board. We documented the questions from members of the public and the responses from Supervisor Henyard. We were there because our community needs us to be.

But we were also at TF North when the Drama Team arrived home. We talked to the kids, took photos, and published a public record of their accomplishment. We were there because our community asked us to be.

Because of you

The support of our community is what makes both these stories possible. Whether you give $5 or $500, it all supports the very local news we provide — stories that everyone else is covering, and stories that no one else is covering. Because of you, The Lansing Journal can be there.

We are grateful for the extra coverage that Chicago media and YouTube influencers are providing of Henyard’s activities — they reach people that we don’t, and that’s important. And I guess we’re flattered that so many of those popular YouTubers are using clips of our videos (with attribution) to round out their reporting. After all, we were there at the beginning before anyone else cared, so we’re a good source for people now interested in the full story.

We’ll be here when the Tiffany Henyard drama is over too, after everyone else has moved on to other sensational stories. You see, The Lansing Journal is part of this community. We are not interested in chasing views. We tell the stories that are right here, whether the world deems them “click-worthy” or not.

We are here to tell the Drama Team stories, and the daily weather, and the Athlete Spotlights — all the small, unique, inspiring, troubling, interesting, complicated stories in our diverse and wonderful community. All the seemingly insignificant stories that are important because they help us build community with each other.

We can do this because of you.

Let’s promise each other

We want to keep showing up and telling our community’s stories. That’s the promise we make to you every morning when we arrive in your inbox. But will you promise to show up too?

The work is too big and too important for us to do alone. We need your help. Will you give today?

Whether you make a one-time contribution of $100, or sign up as a $15/month Sustainer, or type in your own amount, we appreciate whatever you can do.

Let’s promise each other that we will each do our part to value ALL the stories of our community, not just the sensational ones.

P.S. Please don’t assume that The Lansing Journal can automatically continue reporting. Newspapers across the country are shutting their doors. We don’t want that to happen here.

We’ll keep doing our part, but we can’t do it alone. Will you help?

P.P.S. To re-read the overshadowed story about the state championship TF North Drama Team, click the photo above.
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.