Local reporting doesn’t have to end, because newspapers supported by advertising are a thing of the past.

Instead of publishers controlled by business interests, we, the people, can support independent reporting. A few dollars from a lot of people can add up and keep reporters doing their work.

In the traditional newspaper model, a reporter comes up with a story idea, then they “pitch” it to an editor who decides if the story is worth covering. Then the reporter is paid for their work by the owner of the newspaper. In these brave new times, you are the commissioning editor and the business side of this publication. You hear our pitch, and you decide if it’s worth supporting with your dollars.

All we ask is true independence of judgment in reporting the story.

Here’s some stories we at TruthSayers want to report, with your support. Stories that we published with your support are at the bottom of the page.

Help Us Tell These Stories …

The Ithaca Plan: Drug Policy Then And Now

By Josh Brokaw

Three years ago this February, Ithaca was the talk of the nation.

“The Ithaca Plan – a New City Drug Policywas unveiled. The national press took notice. We were the first American city to talk publicly about a supervised injection facility for heroin users.

There were lots of other proposals in the Ithaca Plan: police officers were supposed to be getting offenders help, instead of booking them for petty crimes.That program’s called “LEAD,” for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, and despite many local officials saying they’re ready to work on it, nothing has yet happened to put this program into place.

TruthSayers Reports, November 2017: How Ithaca Can Arrest Fewer People: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion

A detox center was not in the plan, but that’s now happening in Lansing. We have a new medical provider, REACH, catering to low income folks and drug users, but they weren’t part of the plan. A 24-hour crisis center in the city is in the plan, but I haven’t heard anything about that, yet.

TruthSayers reporter Josh Brokaw. Photo by Edna Brown.

I have acquired, via FOIL, over 600 emails to and from city officials when the Ithaca Plan was being written. I want to talk with people who made the plan about what’s happening now, and why. And I want to talk to those on the streets who are affected by the system as it works now. What’s working in our drug treatment system? What’s not working? Plans are nice; results are what we need.

Asking $750 to put 30 hours of time into reporting, writing, and editing this story.

Donate with note “Drug Plan” on PayPal.

TruthSayers’ Paypal account

Patreon account.

Make a recurring donation to TruthSayers, and we’ll count your first three months of support toward this story.

Or you can send a check or cash with a note telling us what reporting you’re supporting to:

Josh Brokaw
c/o Tompkins County Workers Center
115 E. State/MLK Jr. St., Ithaca, NY 14850

Ithaca City School District Beat Reporting

Do you want consistent, comprehensive reporting on the Ithaca City School District? Do you want to tell your stories and air your concerns about how your children are being educated some place safe?

TruthSayers wants to provide reporting on and for families and workers in the Ithaca City School District. And we want to help you share your opinions on what is praiseworthy about Ithaca schools and what needs to be changed.

None of the media outlets covering Tompkins County have a dedicated beat reporter for the schools.

We want to cover the meetings and the negotiations; but we want to do more than that, we want to be where you come to ask questions about Ithaca schools of the administration and the Board of Education. Are policy changes coming up you need to know about? Are teachers going to get paid? How much is administration getting paid? What are you voting on in the yearly school election?

We’re asking you to support regular reporting on ICSD.

For $25, you can support an hour of work from a professional reporter on the district.

To give you an idea, an average, informational story from a meeting takes 3 to 4 hours, between attending, interviews and writing. Like this one: “What Will Ithaca Schools Do With $120 Million?”

Investigative stories, talking to lots of people, take more time. Editing and publishing a letter or a story from a district employee, a student, or a parent might take a half hour, it might take several hours.

We’ll do as much work on the district as you want to support.

Patreon account.

TruthSayers’ Paypal account

Put “ICSD reporting” in your note with the donation.

Or you can send a check or cash to:

Josh Brokaw
c/o Tompkins County Workers Center
115 E. State/MLK Jr. St., Ithaca, NY 14850

Why Do Our Police Do What They Do?

Most of the “crime” reporting we see comes directly from police reports. An arrest is made, the press is informed, and then stories come to you.

What we want to do is inform the public about why our police do what they do.

Read some TruthSayers reporting on police:

Shopping List: Ithaca Police Adding SWAT Equipment

No More Free Rent for Ithaca Police at West Village

Judge: Lawsuit Against Ithaca for Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Police Department Can Go Forward

Here’s some questions that we would like to answer:

How many SWAT raids are happening in Tompkins County every year? Who are their targets? What have authorities found with these raids? What insurance does city/county carry if a raid goes bad?

SWAT call on South Hill, Ithaca. November 2017. Josh Brokaw/TruthSayers

What federal military equipment do upstate NY police departments currently own? What are their policies for using it?

Who are the contractors for jail and probation services in Tompkins and surrounding counties? What are they being paid for services (phone, commissary, ankle monitors)? How much are inmates paying?

Can our local departments investigate crimes that go un-enforced by overstretched regulatory agencies? (e.g. wage theft, nursing home care, housing discrimination)

What training do officers have to go through?

Ithaca Police Department has been spending money on consultants to ‘update’ its policies: what updates are we getting? What best practices are they following?

Note: “Police Coverage.”

Patreon account.

TruthSayers’ Paypal account

Or you can send a check or cash to:

Josh Brokaw
c/o Tompkins County Workers Center
115 E. State/MLK Jr. St., Ithaca, NY 14850

Do You Have An Idea for a Story? Do You Want to Try Your Hand at Reporting?

Contact TruthSayers.

We Asked. You Contributed. We Reported.

Tom Reed Knows, Cares Nothing About Family Business, Wife and Staff Say

4 Years After Closing Law Office, Tom Reed’s Name Still on Credit Reports From Family Medical Debt Collection Agency

This story was cited in an Intercept story about the Reed debt collection business.