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From the Editor: Our Priorities

GUARDIAN ANGEL UPDATE, MONDAY NOVEMBER 3, 8:30 A.M.: Before you read Lisa’s latest column below, I wanted to share the great news that three more Angels landed over the weekend, bringing to 85 the number of Guardian supporters still needed to keep this site from going dark on January 1. CAN YOU PLEASE COMMIT $12 PER MONTH to fund the Guardian’s efforts and growth during the next year? Thank you so much. – Anthony Noel, Contributing Writer

Lisa Ellison

Four years ago last month I lost a job, parts of which I loved (getting to know the students and watching them learn and grow), parts of which I hated (getting to know the administration and recognizing my disappointment as the scales fell from my eyes, money-hungry cracks in the shiny, independent, academically rigorous veneer appearing). Fired for “having my priorities out of line,” said the head of the school in a private meeting–he’d been perfectly fine hiring a nanny to take care of his kids, so it was clear: I was being unreasonable to request leaving after my last class — hours before the end of the scheduled school day, to care for my own.

(This is the same “leader” who, in an official letter supporting his decision to reject my request for unemployment benefits, lied about our discussions leading up to the chopping block. I’m sure it was embarrassing for him to admit, red-faced and stuttering to the appeals judge, that he had indeed made up the part, down to the date on which it didn’t happen, about having had a forthright conversation with me.)

Months of job searching in vain led me to do what anyone would (okay, most people. I’m pretty sure). I threw myself into volunteer work and learning about local politics. It was fun. It was exciting. It was worthwhile and important. It provided a great distraction from financial hardship.

One day, there was an off-hand comment from someone in a crowd, “I heard something about a political news website in Chatham County. Why doesn’t Greenville have something like that?” I started looking into non-profit, local and independent media. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant making plans with Tony Noel who remains the Greenville Guardian’s sine qua non, and another founder who had great ideas and excitement for the project but was quickly distracted by professional ambition.

Almost two and a half years ago I wrote my first Letter from the Editor. The next two years brought many news reports including detailed local election coverage, in-depth analyses, and local arts and culture. I worked with talented writers and met so many people who love Greenville and want it to thrive. It remained exciting and fun; it continued feeling worthwhile and important.

In the Fall of 2013, the University hired me as a part-time instructor. I started picking up freelance writing jobs here and there. My available time was being siphoned off. The Guardian stood, but Tony and I were both aware that if it was going to continue, it was going to require community investment.

I am glad I have given my time and energy to the Greenville Guardian and the city.


These several years of un/der-employment have given me ample time to come to some conclusions on issues of joblessness and society. One of these conclusions is that people, many of whom give important things to society, shouldn’t work for free. My desire from beginning the Guardian has been to pay writers for their work. I want to give them more than my gratitude, even if it’s only the equivalent of a nice dinner or a week’s worth of groceries. It is a service and those who provide it should be compensated.

ransomOne thing should be made absolutely clear, dear reader: A funded Guardian (please read it) will not compromise our morals. You will not see stories written to please donors (or anyone else). Nobody will be “buying” the news; they will be supporting the Guardian’s unique way of presenting it, and allowing it to be available for the broader community. Our priorities, despite what certain heads of schools may say, are perfectly in line, and here’s Item One: we will not be bought.

We will only continue if you, our community, show us you value our work. One hundred donors pledging $12/month for a year by Dec. 31, or it’s goodbye Guardian. (Read more about how we’ll use your support here – and thanks so much.)

email me

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One Response

  1. Carol Collins says:

    I fervently hope that the Greenville Guardian (GG) does not go dark Dec. 31. 2014.

    I know that the GG played an important role in the local elections culminating in the November 2013 vote. Several timely in-depth articles with verifiable facts not only helped inform the public about issues and their facts, but (I am convinced) also spurred the Greenville Daily Reflector (DR) to write some of its own in depth articles. (One GG article regarding where Mr. Allen Thomas REALLY resided while he served on P&Z was mint.) Other conversations among readers at the GG showed Allen Thomas denying during candidate debates that he ever supported the 4-unrelated rule throughout the city, despite City Council videos documenting that he had indeed supported such a policy. (See for the short version.)

    The huge value of competition in the marketplace to help improve products reaching the market has been validated over and over in history. The media is no exception: competition will improve the DR and GG and help realize the benefits that “freedom of the press” guarantee in our Bill of Rights.

    The GG is worth the investment of a contribution (I view it as a subscription). No matter how all this shakes out, I feel that I have already gotten my money’s worth out of my “subscriptions”. Thanks Lisa and Tony!!!!!

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