Town Crier Productions is an LLC created by Sean Tubbs for the purposes of paying for the coverage of local and regional government in Central and Southside Virginia. The company was created in late July 2020 and is hoping to expand as 2023 comes to a close.
Tubbs is an award-winning journalist who has made a name covering government for multiple platforms. The pandemic sparked a calling to return to the practice and to find a way to turn it into a sustainable business. Revenue comes directly from subscribers as well as Patreon supporters.
Town Crier Productions provides a framework that allows Tubbs to cover as much many ground as he can. Here is some of what you can sign up for:
- Charlottesville Community Engagement: This is a newsletter and podcast on Substack that comes in two flavors. One is Week Ahead which comes out on Sundays and previews upcoming meetings and elections. For the rest of the week is a newsletter and podcast that seeks to cover as much as possible in Charlottesville and surrounding counties. This is supported by paid subscriptions as well as some limited advertising and sponsorships.
- Fifth District Community Engagement: This newsletter was created in May 2022 to preview government meetings across Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District. This work will expand to include more material over the coming months. This is currently a free newsletter but paid subscriptions will be turned on at some point in early 2023.
- Charlottesville Podcasting Network: This website was created in 2005 as a way to get in on the ground floor with community podcasting. In 2023, there will be more content here. Would you like to be featured? Follow the page on Facebook and drop us a line.
- Instagram account: I try to use this to put out information about what’s being posted. Please send this around to people if you are on it because maybe that’s one way to get more followers and subscribers!
- Information Charlottesville: You’re looking at it! This blog is the archive for the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and the goal is to expand this into a full-fledged media outlet. Articles are posted here within a week. The audio doesn’t make it here. Perhaps it should? What do you think?
Comments from Tubbs:
My mission is to provide a constant flow of information about this area to provide context about decisions made by our elected and appointed officials. Documenting what happens is important not only so that community members can make informed decisions, but also so that the future can look back upon what happened.
This effort to bolster community media seeks to fulfil the higher ideals embedded in our country’s founding documents. The men who wrote them were deeply flawed individuals, but the aspirational legacy of those words have resulted in a society where we each have the expectation of the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even though this country continues to fail to meet those goals for many of its citizens. It is not self-evident that all of us are created equal, because many of us are treated very differently.
I am a first generation American who became a journalist to understand how things worked. I do not have a large family here, and I do not have a legacy that predates my birth. My parents were able to build a lot of wealth due to my father’s entrepreneurial skills. From an early age, I asked questions and learned to write in order to deliver the answers to the public. I have spent most of my career seeking to explain what I saw and heard in front of me.
In May 2018, I temporarily left journalism to take an opportunity for a career change. In that time, I have learned that arguing in favor of positions is something that does not come naturally. As a journalist, I listened to what people said and wrote it down accordingly. For many years, I wrote stories that contributed to the public record.
Getting back to the work
When the pandemic was declared, I felt a calling to help communicate to people about COVID-19 and the various changes underway.
On March 15, 2020 I created a podcast called the Charlottesville Quarantine Report about what was going on with the disease. In the first month, I produced the show almost every day, and ended up transforming my bedroom into a recording studio and office space. My daily routine got back to that of a working journalist, seeking information from available resources.
In mid-July, I launched Charlottesville Community Engagement. I quit my full-time job and decided to see where the work took me.
This is all built on a dream I have had for many years, a dream that has been reality at several points in my career. I began as a professional in 1995 as a public radio intern, and I’ve had a good career. I am the founder of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network, a creator of cvillepedia, and I spent eleven years at Charlottesville Tomorrow covering local meetings. Over the years, I have a reputation for being truthful, accurate, and community-building in my work.
Writing is how I explore the world and how I order my mind. In doing so, I’m hoping to help others understand the world of process. The world is increasingly a complex place, and I believe everybody needs a better understanding of how they can navigate the world.
I am running run my life as a business, as most of my waking hours are spent pursuing this information. I record about two dozen events each week and distill what happened into information. I’m here to answer questions about how things work.
I am back on a beat that I know very well and expanding my reach. I am excited to work alongside other dedicated journalists in this community as we all work to document Charlottesville’s in the third decade of the 21st century, a period of transition and healing.