🚀 The Big Blast from Tiny News, June 2024
Newsletter Archive

🚀 The Big Blast from Tiny News, June 2024

Helping news entrepreneurs and their communities flourish

By Amy L. Kovac-Ashley

We at the Tiny News Collective have an audacious mission: To support the voices historically excluded from media and media ownership in an effort to fill critical gaps in news and information in communities across all 50 states. We do that by providing the tools, resources and community of learning to help people build sustainable news organizations that reflect and serve their communities. As the number of communities without quality civic information and places for community connection grows, our mission becomes more vital and necessary every day.

That’s why we’re so glad to announce that Tiny News is getting bigger. Five new startups recently joined our Collective, including:

It’s exciting to support bringing diverse new voices into communities. And that builds on the three new members from the Wichita Info Challenge: SHOUT Wichita, Planeta Venus and TMBP Media

Are you interested in joining these entrepreneurs in the Collective? Learn more about applying to join Tiny News.

In our June onboarding sessions, we welcomed five new members into the Collective. (Thanks to Madison Karas for the screenshot.)

It can be a hard road for founders without the support of Tiny News staff. That's why we're so glad to have Andrea Faye Hart on board as our new membership director. She previously worked for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism and City Bureau, and hit the ground running by attending a Collective meeting of TNC members on her very first day. ⚡

Beginning in July, Andrea will run monthly AMA (ask me anything) sessions on Zoom for prospective members. The first one is July 30 at 3 p.m. ET. You can register for that here. Please share this link with anyone you think would be interested in learning more about what it means to be a TNC member.

Plus, TNC is hiring a new operations director to help build our internal capacity so we can focus on the needs of current and future members. We want someone who can bring experience with nonprofit administration in operations, finance, human resources and fundraising to TNC as we move into this next phase of our development. If you know the perfect person, don’t hesitate to send them our way.

We expect to welcome many more members in the coming months and years, and we see partnerships as a key way to find those enterprising folks on the ground who are raising their hands to provide quality local news and information to their communities. We are in talks with potential partners across the country to help seed and nurture more founders, just as we have done in Wichita and New Mexico. If you’re interested in working with us in your communities, drop me a line at amy@tinynewsco.org.

TNC News

Tiny News at INN Days in San Diego

Brit Harley of Five Wards Media (left) speaking on a panel at INN Days with Kate Maxwell of Mendocino Voice (center) and Maritza Felix of Conecta Arizona (right). (Photo by Amy Kovac-Ashley)

The Collective was in the house at the Institute for Nonprofit News’ recent gathering, INN Days, in San Diego. Amy Kovac-Ashley spoke on a panel about succession planning, Amy Bushatz from Mat-Su Sentinel attended for the first time, and Brit Harley from Five Wards Media spoke on a panel discussion, “Saving Lives and Finding Joy in Local News Deserts.” A feeling of solidarity was in the air during that panel, as Harley talked in-depth about the challenges facing news startups.

"Our journalism looks different because of the direct services we provide,” Harley said. “It’s been challenging to have folks understand that that’s part of our work. …I have a bunch of cheerleaders cheering me on, no matter how I’m feeling in the moment." 

It was great to see TNC members gaining prominence through a high-profile industry gathering.

🚀 We have liftoff! Mat-Su Sentinel, ‘BLACK in One Piece’ podcast launch

Dr. Latasha Eley Kelly as seen on the first episode of her “BLACK in One Piece” podcast titled, “Blackety-Black-Black-Black

It’s always great to see Tiny News publishers launching into the world. We had two recent launches, the Mat-Su Sentinel covering the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of Alaska, and the new “BLACK in One Piece” podcast from Dr. Latasha Eley Kelly, founder of The Millennial Black Professor Media.

The Sentinel is a nonprofit publication that focuses on civic information, including local governments and school boards. As the site’s founder and editor Amy Bushatz told the Alaska Beacon, “We need facts to make decisions around our government. We need facts to be able to have relationships with people with whom we disagree. When there are no facts, what we have are polarization and rumors filling the void.” 

Dr. Eley Kelly’s first podcast featured an interview with Joseph Shepard, chief of staff at Lead for America. He shared his thoughts on Black culture and why he considers Wichita home. The podcast launched with a special sneak-peek screening event in Wichita.

TNC board member touts the rise of tiny newsrooms

Kara Meyberg Guzman shares her story as a news co-founder and why she is optimistic because of the work of Tiny News Collective publishers.

Tiny News Collective board member Kara Meyberg Guzman, CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local, gave a recent TEDx talk in Santa Cruz about how there is hope for local news in America with the rise of new independent newsrooms. She also talks about why she supports TNC, believing in the power of local media to elevate diverse voices for effective local democracy. Meyberg Guzman gave special shout-outs to TNC members Amethyst Davis of Harvey World Herald and Nancy Flores of Austin Vida.

“I am so inspired by the dozens of news entrepreneurs the Tiny News Collective has helped [since 2020].... What amazes me is the breadth of news startups,” she said. “It’s not just about government accountability. Several news organizations uplift arts and culture, a coverage that’s often first to be cut from shrinking newspapers.

“Here’s the really great news: If you love your community, if you believe in the value of local news, if you care about democracy, and if you crave more nuanced coverage of your neighborhood, you can join our movement.”

Founder Shoutouts

Every month, the Big Blast will highlight the wonderful work (and media appearances) of TNC founders. Here’s a selection of recent news from our founders.

✨ Congrats to Black by God on its latest print edition focused on Juneteenth, with 50 pages of colorful content, and its widest distribution yet. You can read it online here.

🎤 Nora Hertel from Project Optimist was highlighted and quoted in a recent story about small publications around the state of Minnesota. 

“I made the decision to focus on greater Minnesota because, you know, to be honest with you, because MinnPost exists, Sahan Journal exists and the Star Tribune exists, and public radio is based in the Twin Cities,” she told MinnPost, “there’s a lot concentrated in those areas. And I think that Greater Minnesota needs more media.”

💰 Congratulations to TNC member Austin Vida for inclusion in the latest cohort of the GNI Fundamentals Lab. The cohort will focus on learning more deeply about audience development, reader revenue and sponsorships and will have an opportunity to receive $20,000 in funding to implement what they learn.

🌾TNC founder Claudia Amaro of Planeta Venus was a recipient of a $107,825 grant from the state of Kansas for a project that provides basic computer classes for Spanish speakers. “Our initiative seeks to empower Latino individuals with fundamental digital competencies, thereby enabling them to navigate essential online services and applications with confidence,” according to the project proposal.


Here’s a roundup of resources to support small newsrooms.

Directory of Journalism Support Organizations from LION Publishers
Includes funders, membership organizations (including TNC!), technology services and training

Newsroom Safety Training from the International Women’s Media Foundation
Upcoming trainings will take place in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Fresno, Calif., and you can ask for them to come to your town. Check out a summary from a previous training in May.

Knight Election Hub from Knight Foundation
Provides free or reduced-price resources and services to U.S. newsrooms covering the 2024 elections at the federal, state and local levels

Rethinking Best Practices for Working with Freelancers from RJI
Includes equitable freelance contracts and prioritizing freelancers’ needs

Hiring, Training and Working with Interns from The Daily Catch
This handbook, designed specifically to meet the needs of small-newsroom managers, is the first of its kind

Trauma-Aware Journalism Toolkit from the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma
Includes effective tools and best practices for journalists, newsrooms and educators


Thanks for checking out our latest edition of the Big Blast from Tiny News. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the latest from TNC and our amazing group of founders!

Follow us on LinkedIn

Follow us on Twitter/X

The Big Blast Credits

Written by Amy L. Kovac-Ashley, with Mark Glaser

Note: Feel free to forward this newsletter to others in your network, and if you were forwarded this newsletter, be sure to subscribe here!

Stay informed

Sign up for our monthly newsletter for ongoing updates, announcements, and resources for newsroom entrepreneurs.