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About the Fellowship

The California Local News Fellowship program is a multi-year, state-funded initiative to support and strengthen local news reporting in California, with a focus on underserved communities. Each year, the program places up to 40 early-career journalism fellows in newsrooms throughout the state for two-year, full-time reporting positions.

This program directly addresses the crisis in local news across the nation. In California alone, a quarter of news publications ceased operations between 2004 and 2019, as reported by the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media. According to a separate 2022 study from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, three out of California’s 58 counties lack local newspapers, and thirteen counties have only two. The ramifications are significant. Research indicates that the decline in local reporting results in reduced accountability, increased borrowing costs for municipalities, elevated government expenditures and deficits, fewer individuals pursuing public office, and diminished voter turnout, among other consequences. Furthermore, a weakened information ecosystem exposes Californians to disinformation and risks leaving many – especially those historically underrepresented at the decision-making and opinion-shaping table – out of the informational loop and unable to advocate on their own behalf.

The California Local News Fellowship program stands as an ambitious initiative, delivering direct reporting resources to local news outlets in communities throughout the state. Participating newsrooms are representative of the state’s diverse journalism ecosystem and include mainstream newspapers and digital sites, ethnic media, non-profits, youth media and public media outlets, among others. It also is a talent development initiative, aiming to support the next generation of journalists as they launch their careers.