Dear friends,

It’s been quite a week for The Lens.

First, we were named the best local news website in the Press Club of New Orleans awards, beating We also took top honors for best print investigative story – for the second year in a row – and for publishing the best news-affiliated blog.

Then we announced a trio of collaborative efforts, which will distribute our first-class reporting to broader audiences online and elsewhere – we now have working relationships with print, radio and television operations.

Of course, we’re flattered by the latest awards and the fact that other news organizations trust and respect The Lens’ reporting enough to seek our cooperation.

But the bottom line is, well, our bottom line. And we need your help.

These new relationships initially will generate little to no financial support for The Lens.

As New Orleans’ first nonprofit, independent newsroom dedicated to educating and informing our readers, we continue to be financed by those who believe in our mission. They range from national foundations that provide major grants to individual members who make more modest donations. We’re grateful for donations of every size.

The Lens, established in 2009, grew out of the efforts of founder and citizen journalist Karen Gadbois, who did groundbreaking work in revealing a corrupt city agency. Federal prosecutors are now notching guilty pleas in that case. We remain true to her vision of being a resource for our audience and for city leaders, working to expose wrongdoing that undermines our community.

For instance, we were the first to report on now-disgraced City Councilman Jon Johnson’s connection to a nonprofit that failed to use its FEMA grants improve blighted properties in the Lower 9th Ward. Johnson recently pleaded guilty in federal court, admitting that he raided the nonprofit’s accounts for his own benefit.

That first story on Johnson – more than 18 months ago – grew out of a tip from a concerned reader who knew we would take him seriously and dig into the matter. That’s one reason we regularly meet with readers, seeking to understand their concerns and take their story suggestions. In the end, we all benefit from such collaborative journalistic efforts.

If you appreciate what we do, please consider continuing or beginning your financial support of The Lens. We won’t disappoint you.

The Lens makes it easy to stay informed. Sign up for our Friday e-newsletter to get the week’s top investigative news.


The Lens staff

Steve Beatty

Steve Beatty is the publisher and chief executive officer of The Lens. He worked as an editor for The Times-Picayune for 15 years, leaving New Orleans just before Katrina to take a position as an editor...