Contributors

Local News Blues invites producers of local news to work with us. We also invite allies to reproduce our content with permission. Contact us at lnb@michigoose.com.

Alice Dreger, publisher of Local News Blues (photo by Dylan Lees Photography)

Alice Dreger, publisher and managing editor of Local News Blues, is a professional historian, journalist, and editor with a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University. Her nine authored and edited books have been published by Penguin Press, Harvard University Press, Cambridge University Press, and others, and her national bylines include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, WIRED, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Atlantic. In 2014, without fully realizing what she was getting into, Alice founded East Lansing Info (known as ELi), a hard-hitting nonprofit local news operation for the city of East Lansing, Michigan. Having served at ELi for a decade variously as publisher, executive director, managing editor, and city desk investigative reporter, she's now working on a new book about the madness and nobility of bringing local news in America today. In June 2024, Alice became Managing Editor for the Heterodox Academy, but all views expressed here are her own and do not represent that organization. Find more information at her personal website.

Amos Gelb of American Witness

Amos Gelb, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member and contributor, is the founder of American Witness, a multi-Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, and director of the Washington Media Institute, the premier experiential media program in the United States. In 2015, Amos founded D.C. Witness, the first operation under the American Witness umbrella, to track every homicide in the District of Columbia through the judicial system, effectively witnessing every homicide rather than choosing which are “worth reporting.” Over its existence, D.C. Witness has evolved into a vital source of transparency for the D.C. judicial system. Now also including Baltimore Witness, American Witness aims to provide critically-important local news operations where starting journalists and others can learn the craft of gathering, sorting, and delivering facts.

Emily Sachar of The Daily Catch

Emily Sachar, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member and contributor, is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and CEO of The Daily Catch, a nonprofit, nonpartisan online newspaper serving the Hudson Valley towns of Red Hook and Rhinebeck, New York. Emily founded The Daily Catch in 2021 during the Covid pandemic, and she has worked in journalism as a reporter, editor, and editorial director. Her career was launched following an internship at The Washington Post under Bob Woodward just a few years after the Watergate scandal. She went on to a prize-winning career as a journalist at New York Newsday, making her mark as an education reporter who twice earned the nation’s highest honor for education journalism from the Education Writers of America. Emily’s first book, Shut Up and Let the Lady Teach, based on her year as an eighth-grade inner-city math teacher, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Corinne Colbert of the Athens County Independent (photo by Rich-Joseph Facun)

Corinne Colbert, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member and contributor, worked for newspapers in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Martins Ferry, Marietta and Marysville, Ohio, before leaving journalism to work in nonprofit and freelance communications. She returned to the newsroom in June 2021 as editor of the Athens News but was suddenly fired in February 2022 for warning readers about deceptive advertising in the publication. Her tweets about her firing went viral and inspired a crowdfunding campaign that earned more than $18,000 to launch an independent nonprofit newsroom in Athens County. Fiercely local with a unique voice, the Athens County Independent was a finalist in the 2023 Future of News Division of the Next Challenge and was selected for Indiegraf’s News Startup Fund in Spring 2023. 

Jason Pramas of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ)

Jason Pramas, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member and contributor, is the executive director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ), executive director of the Somerville Media Fund, and the founder of the Alliance of Nonprofit News Outlets (ANNO). Hailing from Boston, Mass., he is editor-in-chief of HorizonMass, an independent, statewide, student-driven news outlet covering Massachusetts, and an editor of SOME, an arts monthly serving Somerville, Mass. Pramas is an award-winning reporter and sometime educator who has been published in hundreds of news outlets and academic journals in several countries over the last 40 years. He has founded and/or run over a dozen publications at local, regional, national, and international levels. A photojournalist by trade, he holds an MFA in visual arts from the Art Institute of Boston.

Bernardo Motta of Communities of Hope Civic Media

Bernardo Motta, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member, is a former lawyer, consultant and journalist from Brazil. He is an associate professor and the founding director of the transformative journalism program Communities of Hope Civic Media at Roger Williams University (RWU). With nearly 30 years of experience in environmental justice and community-driven journalism, research, education and law, Motta was featured as one of the top 10 notable journalism educators by Crain’s NewsPro Magazine in 2021. Motta is an active member of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) and one of the judges and board members for the 2023 and 2024 Columbia Journalism School's The John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism. Previously, he was the director of the Neighborhood News Bureau at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Motta holds a Ph.D. in communication and information, a master's degree in social communication, a law degree, and a bachelor's degree in journalism and social communication.

Regina Clarkin of The Peekskill Herald (photo by Joe Squillante)

Regina Clarkin, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member and contributor, is the Editor and Publisher of The Peekskill Herald in New York’s Hudson River Valley. She co-founded the newspaper in 1986 with Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik to fill a void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to the Gannett chain and moved out of town. The Herald was an award-winning weekly publication through the year 2000. In January 2019, Regina decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. Following a successful crowd funding campaign, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July 2021. Today, the site covers local government, environmental issues, parks and entertainment news, and more, providing community “glue” to keep residents connected and informed.

Jason Cole of the Excelsior Citizen

Jason Cole, Local News Blues Editorial Board Member, is co-founder and publisher of the Excelsior Citizen in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. With more than twenty years of experience in media production, he holds a Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies from the University of Kansas, a master’s in Mass Communication from the University of Central Missouri, and a bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Missouri Southern State University. At MSSU he served as the Student Station Manager of KGCS-LP and also as the Circulation Manager for the university newspaper, The Chart. At UCM he worked as the Business Manager for the Muleskinner and later served as the Broadcast Laboratory Supervisor. While at KU he was a teaching assistant and focused his studies on documentary film, animation, and audience interaction. He returned to UCM and taught for several years before taking a job with Ogden Publications, where he was the Senior Video Producer in charge of in-house and partner videos. While there he helped produce Tough Grit: The Rural American Challenge and oversaw partner projects with sponsors such as Purina, Tractor Supply Co., and Kubota Tractors. Excelsior Citizen is a hyper-local news and information source whose mission is to consistently and accurately report the daily news that impacts the lives of all Excelsior Springs citizens.

Dana Amihere of AfroLA and Code Black Media (photo by Chava Sanchez)

Dana Amihere, Local News Blues contributor, is a designer, developer and data journalist. She’s the founder and executive director of AfroLA, a nonprofit newsroom covering Los Angeles through the lens of the Black community. She’s committed to solutions reporting that centers racial and social justice, especially through data-driven storytelling. Amihere also owns Code Black Media, a digital media consultancy that lives at the intersection of data, design and equity. Previously, she worked in data, interactive design, and news apps for LAist, The Dallas Morning News, Pew Research Center and The Baltimore Sun. Dana has taught data journalism and interaction design for nearly a decade, including in positions with the University of Southern California and most recently U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Joanna Detz of ecoRInews

Joanna Detz, Local News Blues contributor, is publisher and co-founder of ecoRInews whose mission is to report on environmental and social justice issues in southern New England. Joanna’s own interest in social-justice journalism stems back to the first time she read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, a book that also, incidentally, set her on the path to a beef-free lifestyle. After a brief foray into journalism, which included a stint at CNN’s Washington bureau during the 1996 presidential election, she turned to a career in graphic design. A designer for more than 10 years now, she still has mixed feelings about Helvetica. Joanna has a passion for the free press and believes in the power of community journalism.

Brian Zayatz of The Shoestring

Brian Zayatz, Local News Blues contributor, is an editor for The Shoestring, an independent local news outlet based in Western Massachusetts. Born and raised on Cape Cod, Brian has lived around western Mass for roughly the last decade. During that period, he has served as The Shoestring's Northampton city council beat reporter, co-founded Amherst Cinema Workers United, been awarded a Dune Shack Writers Residency by the Provincetown Community Compact, and contributed writing to DigBoston, Popula, Shadowproof, the Montague Reporter, and Teen Vogue.

Thanks to other folks who help bring Local News Blues.

Tech support for Local News Blues is provided by Morgan Lees. Stuart Paterson is our copyeditor. Our logo is by Cait Palmiter, and our banner photo is by Dylan Lees Photography. This newsletter uses Ghost, a great alternative to Substack.