Berkeleyside’s expanded mission

A new initiative for civic-minded local news

As it marks its tenth year, independent, award-winning local news site Berkeleyside is launching a new journalism platform in Oakland. The move coincides with Berkeleyside’s creation of a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to deliver civic-minded local reporting for underserved communities.

The new, as yet unnamed, nonprofit umbrella organization — which will oversee Berkeleyside, the new Oakland project and future expansion — will draw on philanthropic funds, local business and corporate underwriting, membership and revenue from live events to create a sustainable platform for its journalism. 

The Google News Initiative (GNI) and the American Journalism Project (AJP) are each providing $1.56 million in initial funding, as well as collaboration, to provide a strong foundation for our work. 

GNI’s partnership is focused on the new Oakland newsroom. It is the third GNI Local Experiments Project, which aim to develop new business, operational and product practices to create sustainable local news business models. The first two Local Experiments are with the newspaper groups McClatchy in the US and Archant in the UK. 

AJP’s funding is targeted at developing the business and operational capacity of Berkeleyside’s new nonprofit. It will enable an expansion of business- and product-side resources, with the goal of producing new revenues and funding that are a multiple of the AJP grant.  

The Oakland news site, which will launch in spring 2020, will be dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that delves deeply into the city’s institutions and amplifies the voices of community stakeholders across the city in a time of transformation. In order for it to be rooted in, representative of, and responsive to Oakland’s communities, the platform is being built on a foundation of listening.


Our mission

Recognizing that local communities are the lifeblood of society, we aim to deliver high-quality journalism to underserved communities in order to foster civic engagement, enrich people’s lives and contribute to a healthy democracy.

The national crisis in journalism is most acute at the local level. On an almost weekly basis, reporters and editors are being shed at newspapers controlled by hedge funds and private equity giants. Fortunately, the ecosystem of nonprofit news is rapidly developing. For example, the 148-year-old Salt Lake Tribune recently converted to nonprofit. It’s certain to be just the first of many metro newspapers to take the same route we’ve chosen. 

Research shows that in cities without a source of high-quality local news, municipal borrowing costs and local government corruption increases, voter turnout drops and political polarization increases. 

Our ten years of experience at Berkeleyside has taught us that a strong community focus, an unswerving commitment to covering local stories that matter to residents and an openness to dialogue create a powerful bond with our readers and enables trusted, valuable journalism. We’re excited to extend our work under our new nonprofit organization.


Who we are

Berkeleyside co-founders Lance Knobel, Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor. Photo: Tippett Studio

Journalists Lance Knobel, Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor founded Berkeleyside in Berkeley, California, in 2009. A pioneer in the field of online local journalism, Berkeleyside is seen as a model for digital local news, having built up a highly engaged audience and a high level of trust in the community it serves. Read more about Berkeleyside.

Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you. If you have thoughts about our forthcoming Oakland site, share them in this brief survey. Come to one of our events. And sign up for updates, including about job opportunities and news, using the signup box at the top of the page.

If you’d like to to discuss how you can support our nonprofit journalism, please email us directly.