Dear Chalkbeat readers,
As many of you know, in May, we added a new newsroom to the Chalkbeat family when we launched Votebeat. Votebeat covers election administration and voting in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona, in much the same way Chalkbeat covers public education in our eight communities.
There have been many benefits to creating Votebeat, from affirming the power of Chalkbeat and our incredible community, to informing a conversation and decision-making process plagued by polarization and misinformation. In just a few months, our incredible team revealed the fringe movement that drove an entire Texas county’s election staff out of their jobs and uncovered connections between Arizona’s drop box vigilantes and a national election-disinformation network.
One downside of launching Votebeat, though, has been name confusion. We need a way to clearly define the relationship between our two newsrooms.
That’s why today, I’m excited to announce that we are officially launching Civic News Company, the parent organization for Chalkbeat, Votebeat, and possibly future beats to come. Civic News Company’s mission is to help people understand how America works, so we can all make it work better. We do this by producing Chalkbeat, world-class education journalism for, and in partnership with, the communities who need it most — and now also by producing Votebeat. In the future, we may introduce new “beats” covering additional topics that are critical to making this country work better for everyone who lives in it.
We picked the name “Civic News Company” because education and elections are pillars of civic life. That is why we work so hard to cover them. Civic also means local, and we believe that the American story is best told locally: in communities, with communities, and for communities. Finally, “Civic News” honors the larger emerging movement that our work is a part of, a movement of journalism that prioritizes community benefit instead of commercial gain; thinks of readers as community members, not consumers; and knows that our work is crucial to democracy. We are also indebted to those who pioneered the idea of “civic journalism.”
If the idea of growing a local news organization that cares deeply about our country is interesting to you, I hope you will sign up to follow our journey. We love what we do here, and we love our community. Whether you read your first Chalkbeat article in 2014 or today, thank you for being a part of our community and helping us prove what’s possible when people and communities have the information they need to create a better future together.