Our Local News Incubator


The American Journalism Project, with support from the Google News Initiative, recently launched a local news incubator. The program is intended to support entrepreneurs who want to explore launching a new nonprofit local news organization to serve their communities. 

Inspired by the success of Capital B and Mountain State Spotlight, which used pre-launch grants and startup support to build successful news organizations, this program is intended to accelerate the progress in launching local nonprofit news organizations that have outstanding talent and capital from the start. Our goal is to guide the launch of ambitious and resilient nonprofit news organizations with seed capital and support to complete a robust research and development stage and fundraising campaign.

Gillian White, Lauren Williams and Akoto Ofori-Atta are on the founding team at Capital B (left), and Ken Ward Jr. is the co-founder of Mountain State Spotlight (right), whose newsrooms’ success inspired the launch of this incubator

Individuals and small teams with ideas for new local news organizations applied for this 18-month incubator, which will provide both startup capital and expert counsel. The deadline to submit applications was February 15, 2023. The launch of the cohort will take place in July, 2023. For this cohort, we will select up to four individuals or pairs. Founders will receive $400,000 to pursue their startup full time and spend 18 months researching, developing an editorial strategy to fill the local news and information needs they identify in a given market, fundraising, coalition-building and preparing to launch an organization. 

AJP will use its experience supporting grantees and launching nonprofit news startups to provide teams with a roadmap, coaching, and technical assistance to identify communities, understand information needs and the existing news ecosystem,  fundraise, set up organizational infrastructure (e.g. incorporation, insurance, board and governance, tax exemption status), and ultimately support the launch of a solution to meet community needs. 

  • Feb. 15: Application deadline
  • Feb-March 2023: Application initial review
  • April: Semi-finalist/finalist interviews
  • April/May: Participants selected
  • July 2023: Incubator program begins

Information session

The American Journalism Project and Google News Initiative hosted information session about the program on January 12, 2023. You can view the recording here:

More information

AJP invests growth capital in existing organizations, seeds new organizations in partnership with philanthropy and incubates talent-led startups pre-launch. The Google News Initiative scales Google’s work with journalists, publishers, and industry leaders to help build a resilient future for news around the globe by providing tools, training and grant funding to help news organizations evolve in the digital age – including a $300 million funding commitment to the future of the news industry.

You can read the original announcement here.