Help us make this last

I’ll admit that I didn’t have high-minded thoughts about journalism when I started. As a teenager interning at a local talk radio station, my goal was simply to get hired as a $10-an-hour producer. Hosting a radio show would be cool and potentially lucrative, sure, but I hadn’t planned that far ahead. While the internship left me immersed in journalism—booking guests, prepping hosts for interviews, and consuming news from dozens of outlets—I was more interested in criticizing the media than reporting. 

Eventually the radio station hired me as a producer. Not long after that, an older journalist offered some unsolicited advice that would change the trajectory of my career.

Young conservatives in journalism today generally have to choose between two career paths, the newsroom veteran explained. I could pursue fame as a shock jock, attacking the media and popping off on whatever was in the news that day. Or I could build a career based on finding out information people didn’t know but should. After decades in the business, the senior reporter continued, he had seen plenty of young and energetic folks make waves then quickly wash out. Good reporters tended to last longer. People might get tired of your takes, but breaking news will always command attention. 

I took his advice and moved to Washington to cover politics. In the decade since, I’ve reported across the world, from Western Europe to Eastern Ukraine and Vatican City to Kansas City. Somewhere along the way, I developed a more high-minded goal: to provide high-quality, reality-based reporting, yes, but from a conservative perspective. This line of work is fun and satisfying personally, but I realized it also might provide some social good. 

While I had established a solid career, it became apparent that one reporter could only do so much. And that’s where The Dispatch comes in. 

“We are not launching The Dispatch to change the world, to reimagine news and information, to fix the internet, or to ignite a movement,” Steve and Jonah wrote in their manifesto. “We are launching The Dispatch to do right as we see it, by providing engaged citizens fact-based reporting and commentary on politics, policy and culture —informed by conservative principles.”

Years after writing those words, it is clear that the founders haven’t lost sight of their original goal. And from the moment I started speaking to Steve about joining the team, our conversations were always focused on what we could build—and how we could make it last. And that’s what we continue to do every day. It’s a long-term project, and we can’t do it alone. 

Please consider investing in our work and joining us with a paid membership. 

— Adam O’Neal

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