Meet the four teams participating in the American Journalism Project’s local news incubator

Representing communities across the country, the inaugural cohort will spend the next 18 months advancing a vision for new local news operations

Last fall, we announced the launch of our first Local News Incubator, which will support entrepreneurs who want to explore launching new, nonprofit local news operations to serve their communities.

Today, we’re introducing the four teams who will be part of the incubator’s first cohort. For the next 18 months, these teams will participate in the incubator program and pursue their ideas for new local news operations in their communities. More on the teams and their ideas:

  • Adrienne C. McWilliams and Brandon Braswell will incubate a community newsroom serving Miami’s diverse population, delivering local news and information via a video-first platform.
  • Yawu Miller and Claudio Martinez will build out a local news offering for communities of color in Greater Boston that covers issues including politics, public policy, community development, economic justice, criminal justice, race and social justice.
  • Jake Hylton and Joseph Jaafari will expand on their work with LOOKOUT, which aims to get Phoenix’s queer community more engaged in politics and community and bring LGBTQIA+ issues top-of-mind and above-the-fold through accountability journalism.
  • John Schrag and Lee van der Voo will explore how to provide high-quality, community-first reporting and partnerships to disrupt misinformation and target news gaps, supporting Oregon’s existing newsrooms while diversifying and training the next generation of Oregon journalists.

These four teams shared compelling ideas for filling a local news gap in their communities and taking a collaborative approach to this work. They’ve demonstrated a vision for advancing diverse perspectives, both in the newsroom and the news gathering process. They also represent new locations, communities and approaches that we’re eager to add to our grantee portfolio.

Each team will receive a $400,000 grant and participate in an 18-month program that will equip them to further assess their communities’ information needs and build solutions. In the coming months, the teams will receive coaching on research, editorial strategy, finance, operations, business development and movement building. The incubator will support the teams to move from an idea to a product launch over the course of the 18 months. Leveraging insights and successes of the local news organizations in our portfolio, the incubator will help these founding teams climb learning curves faster about what it takes to launch a successful local news nonprofit.

The local news incubator, launched by the American Journalism Project, with support from the Google News Initiative, aims to lower barriers to entry for prospective founders of local news organizations and diversify the field. By providing robust funding and council, this kind of program allows local news talent to go all-in on their ideas and draw on lessons learned from other nonprofit local news organizations across the country, with the runway that will provide them financial security to take an entrepreneur’s leap.

This program is the first of its kind for the American Journalism Project, inspired by the success of organizations like Capital B, which used pre-launch funding and startup support to build a successful news operation. We’re looking forward to working with these teams to bring their ideas to life.