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Welcoming the New Year at VPM: A letter from VPM President and CEO Jayme Swain

Jayme Swain Holiday Headshot
Jayme Swain, President & CEO of VPM and the Virginia Foundation for Public Media

As 2023 comes to an end, I have spent time reflecting on my past five years leading this incredible organization. While there is so much darkness in the world, I continue to have hope for the future. Thanks to you, VPM can be a bright spot in our community, now and into the future.

In fact, this year has been a momentous one for VPM. In June, we officially announced that VPM is bound for downtown as we plan to move our headquarters to the historic Monroe Ward district of Richmond. Although we will not open our doors until 2026, we can already envision our new home as a vibrant public square with opportunities to bring people together for shared experiences and exchange of ideas.

The building will also contain state-of-the art production studios and a modern newsroom so we can deliver on our priorities to provide more factual and in-depth journalism; expand our arts and cultural offerings to highlight what unites us as Virginians; and deepen our service to children, educators and families in our community - especially for those who need us the most.

With your support, we have invested more in local storytelling and community engagement, and we have so much to celebrate. VPM has been recognized for a variety of industry awards, which speaks to the quality of our content. Just this year, VPM was honored with three Regional Murrow Awards; two Regional Capital Emmy’s and five nominations; 10 Telly Awards; seven Virginia Associated Press Broadcaster Awards; a Virginia Association of Broadcasters Award for “VPM News Focal Point;” two national Signal Awards for the podcast “Admissible: Shreds of Evidence”; and a second-place finish in the Enterprise division at the Public Media Journalism Association Awards.

While the recognition is extraordinary, what has inspired me most during my tenure is the unwavering commitment to our mission by every member of the team. From our engineers battling the elements to keep our signal on the air, to our colleagues and volunteers who were not deterred by a hurricane for an outdoor community engagement event in Harrisonburg, we are animated by making a difference.

This year, I particularly want to highlight the work of our newsroom. It takes tremendous courage to be a journalist these days. Not only is the news sometimes bleak and hard to cover but, as facts come under attack, so do those who report them. In the face of it all, our reporters continue to do the work because we believe in VPM’s role to provide vital, trusted and unbiased information. The VPM News team knows the power of local news and is dedicated to strengthening our democracy with local voices.

Many of you have told me that VPM is a lifeline for you. We take that responsibility very seriously. I also want you to know that you are our lifeline. We are so grateful to you – for your donations, for sending your feedback and kind words of encouragement and for being ambassadors of VPM to your friends and neighbors.

On behalf of everyone at VPM, thank you for all you do for VPM, and we wish you a peaceful holiday season.