Burnout is real.
I started BBG as a WVU School of Journalism NewStart graduate student during a global pandemic and amid white America’s moment of awakening to police brutality.
My grad school fellowship afforded me time and resources to begin and it has been a full-court press since — fundraising, planning, publishing, and more.
Being a solo-news entrepreneur in West Virginia is not for the faint of heart.
There’s financial insecurity, sure, but there’s a weariness of hope as I look around at the media landscape, the impossible odds, and the skills I need to develop at warp speed.
BBG has created real assets— I’m so proud of that.
Every day I lean further into my West Virginia work ethic. But, hard work alone doesn’t always make for a successful living or news product.
No matter how hard I work — I can’t change West Virginia’s dismal economy, the media’s systemic racism, or my ability to manage personalities and a growing volunteer community gracefully.
Work days bleed into nights and weekends.
It’s hard to quit when you’re the “boss.”
I fear if I don’t take a break to create a better way to work, and develop leadership and technical skills, BBG won’t have a chance to make it another year.
Taking a break seems the best way to move forward.
I am deciding to step back — quiet quitting, they call it.
In my mind this looks like not worrying so much about social media, and taking a break publicly and personally.
It looks like making a long-term plan with an advisory board, and creating a better workflow so we’re not hustling from print to print.
I will continue the BBG newsletter and post new and original articles on the website.
My door is always open for your comments, replies, and ideas — I just might be a little slow on the response.
This breather will allow me to prepare for and enjoy my upcoming whirlwind tour to spread the BBG gospel at several conferences, including Atlanta Documenters, East Tennessee State University, Online News Association, American Folklore Society and the Radically Rural Summit.
I hope my evangelical news spirit will bring much-needed resources and support for BBG and the Folk Reporters program that I believe can build a corps of citizen journalists.