Indiana Local News Initiative Launches CEO Search
The startup nonprofit news organization announced the hiring of its first Community Journalism Director in Central Indiana, the appointment of its founding board and formation of a CEO search committee
INDIANAPOLIS – May 11, 2023 – The Indiana Local News Initiative, a startup nonprofit organization dedicated to filling information gaps across Indiana, facilitating investment in local journalism, and fostering collaboration among Indiana media outlets, announced today that it has established a governing board and is launching a search for a founding chief executive officer.
The initiative, which is launching a 25-person news organization in Central Indiana later this year, also announced today it has hired community builder and journalist Ariana Beedie as Central Indiana Community Journalism Director after a rigorous search process that included input from a panel of Indianapolis residents. Beedie joins from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, where she was Director of Neighborhood Engagement. She’s spent much of her career connecting and supporting Indianapolis communities through events, grant programs, and other resources, including at Partners in Housing through AmeriCorps. Beedie got her start in Indiana journalism in Evansville, and co-founded FAF Collective, an online publication highlighting stories of Black, brown and marginalized people in Indianapolis. She has produced audio stories for WFYI, and her work has been published in AFROPUNK and Sixty Inches From Center.
Beedie will be launching a Central Indiana affiliate of the award-winning Documenters Network by City Bureau, and other community journalism programs that deeply integrate Central Indiana residents in the coverage of their neighborhoods, and train and pay residents to participate in news gathering and distribution.
“It’s very exciting to be able to work with my two passions: journalism and community,” Beedie said. “Indianapolis is an incredible city. This publication will highlight, elevate and truly engage residents around what’s happening in our neighborhoods. It will work for and with neighbors to ensure the stories are accurate, and truly serve and reflect Central Indiana communities.”
The initiative, which was first announced in February with more than a dozen Indiana media partners, has added Radio One as a partner. The organizations are all working together to collaborate on filling coverage gaps across the state and enable more journalism to reach more Hoosiers.
Bringing a wide breadth of journalism, media, business, and nonprofit experience in Indiana to the organization, founding board members include Carolene Mays, former State Representative & president of the Indianapolis Recorder; Mark Miles, CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.; Michael Ouimette, Chief Investment Officer of the American Journalism Project; Melissa Proffitt, Partner at Ice Miller; Myrta Pulliam, journalist and community leader; and Nichole Wilson, Vice President of Community Health Operations at Indiana University Health. Karen Ferguson Fuson, former publisher of the Indianapolis Star and president of Gannett West Group, is board chair.
“This initiative will help bring to light all of the many untold stories that make up the fabric of our community—the individuals, neighbors and the contributions they make, the stories they’ve lived and persevered through,” Wilson said. “We will be sharing impactful stories of the people doing real work in our neighborhoods and our cities on a more consistent, authentic basis.”
“The success of this project will strengthen our democracy by better informing Hoosiers about topics important to them,” Miles said. “This initiative is vital for the future of our state and I’m proud to be supporting it as a founding board member.”
Ferguson Fuson, Mays, and Ouimette are serving on the initiative’s CEO search committee along with Irving Washington, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, who is from Indianapolis and was previously CEO of the Online News Association, one of the world’s largest membership organizations for digital journalists, and a leader at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The initiative is looking for a CEO that is passionate about the future of the entire state and the role that public journalism has to play in strengthening local democracy and our communities; who can deliver on the initiative’s mission to fill gaps, facilitate investments, and foster collaboration; and who can build and lead an ambitious civic institution that is equitable, inclusive, and representative of the diversity of the state. The incoming CEO has the opportunity to blaze a trail. The board and search committee welcome applications from people of all professional backgrounds and from all sectors. More information can be found at https://www.localnewsforindiana.org/jobs/ceo.
The initiative’s search for a Central Indiana Editor in Chief is ongoing, and more open roles will follow. The latest information about openings is available at http://localnewsforindiana.org/jobs.
“This initiative started with community input and grew into a broad coalition that is one of the largest of its kind in the country. The addition of these dedicated community leaders in our state is our first step in building an organization that can fill critical gaps in local news and information and enable our neighborhoods and communities to thrive," Ferguson Fuson said. "We are grateful for the input and support we've received from community members throughout this process and hope to continue working in partnership to realize this ambitious mission."
Special thanks to the Community Journalism Director resident interviewers:
- Valerie Davis
- Kaya Dorsch
- Wildstyle Paschall
- Sitashma Thapa
- Maxine Wallace
About the Indiana Local News Initiative
The Indiana Local News Initiative is a nonprofit organization based in Indianapolis, fiscally sponsored by the American Journalism Project. With $10 million raised so far, it is on a mission to ensure all residents of Indiana have the local news and information they want and need, and is filling information gaps with the launch of a robust newsroom in Central Indiana, facilitating investments in journalism outlets around the state, and fostering collaboration among Indiana outlets to amplify local journalism for all Hoosiers, especially underserved communities.
The initiative receives support from a broad coalition of philanthropies including the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, Myrta Pulliam, Lumina Foundation, John Mutz, Michael Arnolt, the Robert R. and Gayle T. Meyer Family Fund, Joyce Foundation and the Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and the American Journalism Project. The initiative will continue fundraising and making investments to fulfill its mission of ensuring information gaps are filled for all of Indiana’s communities.
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