April 2023 Newsletter
To our strongest supporters:
Most of you live in Indiana cities where there’ll be an election for mayor and city council in November. The first step is a primary on Tuesday, May 2nd, and most of you will vote in it. In fact, many of you have already voted, putting you in a tiny minority of the eligible voting age population.
These are our first municipal elections in our three-year history, so our dedicated voter guide guru, Ben Hizer, and his team have created a voter guide for the central Indiana cities of Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lawrence, Greenwood, Shelbyville and Martinsville.
It’s right here. If you live in one of those communities, please test drive our voter guide and give Ben feedback by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If our resources permit, we’ll expand our November municipal voter guide into more major Indiana cities. (Yes, that’s an unabashed hint for donations!)
So that’s the good news this month.
The rest of the news is, frankly, bittersweet.
Our founding editor-in-chief, Kevin Morgan, is retiring at the end of the month.
Kevin spent almost 30 years at the Star before joining the Legislative Services Agency. When he applied for our job, he was one of 98 candidates, and always our first choice.
Before I recommended Kevin to our board, I had vetted him with several working journalists I respected. The words they used to describe him were “solid, conscientious, unflappable, unbiased, ethical…a professional journalist with an impeccable reputation.”
In retrospect, it’s hard for me to imagine the leap of faith it took for Kevin and his wife Madelyn to give up a secure job and buy into the vision Ann and I had. It certainly helped that I could tell him the first year was already funded by a generous grant from the Samerian Foundation that would permit him to join the staff of the Indiana Bar Foundation. (Thank you Cindy Simon Skjodt and Chuck Dunlap!) But I couldn’t make a commitment beyond 2020.
Nevertheless, Kevin and Madelyn said, “Let’s go.”
Kevin joined us on February 16, 2020, mere days before COVID changed everything. In our very first year, we ran smack into a global pandemic and the stiff resistance of the political class.
Yet, we persisted. Thanks to you.
In 2021, we began a partnership with Franklin College’s Statehouse File—thank you, John Krull!—and began a commitment to holding the powerful accountable. Kevin’s leadership of our gerrymandering reporting team resulted in a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists, beating IndyStar and the Associated Press.
In 2022, we continued our government coverage—pestering the gerrymanderers on the east end of Market Street—and produced a Ben Hizer-led voter guide that garnered wide distribution, including a shoutout from the Star.
This year, we have broken several important stories that have earned the enmity of many powerful folks, especially Attorney General Todd Rokita. He derisively called me a “democrat crusader,” without appreciating that he’d called me an advocate for democracy.
Everything we have done over the last three-plus years—everything we have become–is thanks to Kevin Morgan.
Kevin will be replaced by Marilyn Odendahl as interim editor. Marilyn’s superb reporting has already greatly expanded our breadth and depth as a trusted source of accountability journalism.
Marilyn will do a superb job.
And we will miss Kevin Morgan.
Co-Founder (with Ann) and President, Indiana Citizen Education Foundation, Inc.
Publisher, The Indiana Citizen