I write to you today with great joy – and great sorrow. Our intrepid reporter, Sophie Culpepper, has accepted a full-time position writing for Nieman Lab, the leading publication for the journalism field on innovation and technology. It is an amazing opportunity, and I am thrilled for Sophie.

But we are sad to see her go! Over the last two years, she has become an essential part of our community. I have more to say about Sophie, but first I want to assure you: the Observer will continue to provide the same level of informative and engaging content that you have come to expect. We have a robust (and growing) community of volunteers and contributors. Not only that, but Lexington resident and nationally recognized journalist Lauren Feeney has stepped in as an interim Executive Director. She is already working hard to ensure that we will publish without interruption.

You will still see that Friday morning email with all the goings-on around town, including community announcements, the Police Blotter, and the quality reporting you expect. Lauren is a founding member of our advisory board, and has put hours of volunteer time into editing and working on the Observer since its inception. We are thrilled she’s willing to step up and take this on full-time.

Please join me in congratulating Sophie and thanking her for her service. Her last day with the Lexington Observer will be April 14, 2023, meaning that Friday’s edition will be her last. We are planning an in-person “thank you” over coffee and donuts– stay tuned for more details on that!

Sophie has been, simply, incredible. The success of the Observer has rested substantially on her shoulders, especially in the first few months of operation. She has become an integral part of our community – a true voice for local journalism, striving for accuracy and balance while at the same time doing her best to serve our town. All of this in a strange boot-strapped non-profit start-up where more than once the bank balance was in the single digits! Without Sophie, the Lexington Observer might not have happened.

I am reminded of Vitruvius, the ancient Roman who is considered the father of architecture. In his book On Architecture, he described the three qualities for great buildings: integrity, utility, and inspiration. Those are three excellent ways of describing Sophie: She reports with utter integrity, thoroughly researching and reviewing every single sentence. She reports with great utility, providing enormous value to the community — her weekly newsletter is a “must-read”. And she brings great joy to her work, providing inspiration for all of us.

Sophie is truly a co-founder of the Lexington Observer, and should carry that moniker with her throughout her career. Now we must make her proud.

Thank you, Sophie, for everything you have done for our town.

And thank you, dear reader, for everything you do for Lexington, and for your support for the Observer. Without you, the Lexington Observer would not exist.

Please join me in thanking Sophie for her work by leaving a comment below.

Nicco Mele

Co-founder & Publisher, Lexington Observer

Join the Conversation


  1. Thank you, Sophie, for your incredible work. I am so grateful for your leadership, patience, and integrity in reporting local news. Good luck to you — we’ll miss you!

  2. I share the pride, gratitude, and tinge of sadness in Nicco’s note. Sophie has made the Observer a credible local news source and I will miss her reporting.

    Wishing her the best in this fantastic new opportunity.

  3. Is there a long German word to describe the feeling of being sad and happy at the same time? If not, there should be. I have no doubt Sophie will be enormously successful at Nieman Lab, just as I have no doubt that her presence in Lexington will be missed. I will console myself with the thought that we will get one last great piece from her on what is sure to be an epic Town Meeting session Monday night.

  4. Sophie, I am not surprised that you are moving on and up. Your sophistication and professionalism has come through clearly in your writing for the Lex Observer and in my personal contact with you. Wishing you the very best of luck.

  5. I recently met Sophie in the balcony at Town Meeting. What an incredible contribution she’s made to our town! She clearly has the patience of a saint, a way of untangling the sometimes knotty language of local government, and a clear, graceful prose style. So sorry to see her go, but it’s obvious that she’s headed for great things. Congratulations, Sophie, and thank you!

  6. Sophie, your work for the Lexington Observer has always been thoughtful, thorough, truthful, clear, and beautifully written. You are wise beyond your years–I often find myself reflecting on an observation you made about the place of journalism in a society: there are things that are urgent, and things that are important. Both deserve coverage. May you always cover the urgent, the important, and the just plain fun throughout what I hope will be a long, meaningful career!

  7. Sophie, I have enjoyed your special spark of reporting that provides clarity and depth. You have great talent and, while I will miss you very much I’m delighted that you will continue your career as a truth seeker and truth teller. Wishing you the very best in this new opportunity!

  8. Onward and upward!
    We are grateful for your efforts to keep Lexingtonians well informed, and now a wider community will benefit from your skills and dedication.

  9. Sophie, thank you for your incredible dedication. I’m sad to see you leave but wish you the best in your career.

  10. Sophie: You have provided Lexington with the truthful and unbiased reporting that is so missing in local journalism. We will miss you but wish you continued success in a field where you’re “a natural.”

  11. I know that many of my peers and I would not be nearly as informed or well off without your dedication to journalism and transparency, Sophie! Congrats, and I’m sad to see you go!

  12. The Lexington Observer is such a great asset to our community. Thank you for helping make this happen.

  13. What a great thing for Sophie and what a loss for us in Lexington. So grateful she’s been here to help LexObserver get off the ground… we have been lucky to have her!

  14. I have enjoyed working with you so much. Your appreciative welcome of my column has meant a great deal to me. I’ll miss you and also congratulate you on your new position. They are lucky to have you. Best. Elsa

  15. Sophie, I enjoyed working with you. I will miss your warmth and responsiveness. To me, you are not just a reporter, you are also a part of the supportive community. Thanks to all you did to Lexington, and best wishes to your next great career!

  16. Best of Luck to Sophie! We are so lucky to have this paper. Thank you to Sophie and all involved!

  17. Sophie, thank you for everything you did to launch LexObserver and bring honest, insightful reporting back to our town. Journalism will be the better for your talent and dedication. Best wishes for the next step in your career.

  18. Sophie, thank you for your instrumental role in establishing LexObserver as a trusted local news source. You are a natural journalist, and your keen reporting has kept us all better informed about the issues in our town. Your talent will surely take you far in this next opportunity and beyond.

  19. Sophie, your exceptional skills as a journalist have been such a gift to our community! Thank you for showing us how essential a local news outlet is to Lexington. I wish you all the best for your next step in what will, no doubt, be a stellar career.

  20. It is a mixed feeling to read this news, Sophie. My first reaction is it is a loss for our Lexington community, and then I couldn’t be happier for you. You are such a talented reporter! Our community is so lucky to have you for 2 years. We cannot express our gratitude enough. I am confident that you have a bright future in your field, that you are smart, talented, with integrity, brave, and compassionate.

  21. I don’t know you at all but I know your work and it is superb. Thank you for stepping in to cover local issues with extreme professionalism. Your coverage has been worthy of a national news source. I wish you all the best in your next chapter. You will be missed in Lexington. I look forward to following your professional trajectory…

  22. Well done Sophie on your wonderful contribution to journalism for the benefit of our community.

  23. Sophie, thank you for all you have done to help launch the Lexington Observer and turn it into a great community resource. Best wishes on the next step in your professional journey. I hope Nieman Lab knows how lucky it is to get you!

  24. I wholeheartedly echo what Nicco said, Sophie is simply incredibly.
    Sophie – Many of us have been impressed by the quality of your work, which is on par with top journalists from big name media. The moment I saw your star power, I knew that sooner or later, a bigger stage would take you away from us. We are really happy for you but will miss you terribly!! Like Nicco said, now it is our turn to make you proud to carry on this tradition of excellence. See you on Friday!!

  25. Thank you Sophie, for taking such care with our Community submissions – on behalf of Lexington Girl Scouts.

  26. Sophie,

    Your ability to quickly understand and explain complex issues has been a tremendous service to the citizens of Lexington. Best of luck in your next step.
    Thank you

  27. Hi Sophie,
    You have done a phenomenal job getting the Observer off the ground and into the inboxes of everyone who wants to know what is happening in Lexington. Thank you so much for your hard work and best of luck in your new position.

  28. Thank you, Sophie, for your excellent reporting for the “Observer.” Congratulations on your new position, which sounds very exciting for you. I’ve grown to depend on your weekly reporting and because of your excellence in doing so I have become a staunch supporter of the “Observer.”

  29. Thank you, Sophie. It is always a pleasure to read what you wrote for the Lexington Observer.

  30. Thank you, Sophie, for your hard work and excellent, in-depth reporting and explaining, which helps everyone wise enough to subscribe to the Observer understand what’s happening in town. You definitely cover the who, what, where, how, and why. I hope you find your new position interesting and satisfying.

  31. Thank you for your excellent reporting. I looked forward to the Observer every week. Good luck with your career and keep up the fine work.

  32. Sophie,

    I still remember the lunch Fred Johnson and I had with you at the beginning of your tenure at LexObs. You asked us to brief you on some of the big issues facing Lexington. We started to list things that we thought should be on your radar. My sense was that we might have been overwhelming you — but boy was I wrong!

    In the two years since I first met you I have been thrilled each week to see what you (and now a growing number of additional LexObs staffers) have come up with. It is a pleasure to read articles that raise issues that are challenging — as well as uncover the subtle nuances behind the issues.

    Best of luck at your new job. It will be nice to know someone at such a prestigious journalism organization. Our loss will be their gain!


    — Harry

  33. Lexington has been missing real local journalism for entirely too long, until the Lexington Observer came along under your fine guidance, Sophie. We’ll all miss your contributions each week, but you’ve set a high standard for subsequent reporters, and reminded us all what good local coverage looks like. Thank you.

  34. Dear Sophie,Thank you Thank you and Thank you for your good work to our town of Lexington. You will be miss. Good luck to your new adventure 😘!

  35. Thank you, Sophie. You are an outstanding journalist, and I am sure that you will go on to great success.

  36. Thank you for all you have done for Lexington! You have played an incredible role in our civic life and keeping us informed about key issues. Good luck!

  37. Dear Sophie, After reading only two of your early stories in your clear, thorough, and balanced style, I gladly signed on to become a monthly sustainer member to support this kind of journalism for our community. Although we’ve never met, I feel we’ve developed a great relationship through our frequent correspondence. I will finally meet you today! You are a real loss to us, Sophie, but I’m very happy for this exciting next step and wish you much success.

  38. Wow…these comments mean so much to me. Please know I have read every one of them and they have brought me a lot of joy. Thank you so much for making me feel that my work was valuable and helpful to the community — that’s what makes this worthwhile to me! I will miss Lexington and the Observer very much and am so glad I got to know many of you in my time here. Thank you!!

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