Alliance for Sustainable Local News builds on new local news model success


We believe in the power of local news to make communities and people’s lives better. Today, we announce the formation of the Alliance for Sustainable Local News, a new group of local news publishers, which has found common ground in the successful building of new high-quality, trustworthy, non-partisan news organizations, large enough to serve their communities’ primary news needs.

The founding members of the ASLN include:

  • Baltimore Banner, a rapidly growing, eight-month-old start-up with a broad product portfolio, focused on the greater Baltimore area.
  • Block Club Chicago, a four-year-old, neighborhood-centric organization now serving a majority of Chicago’s neighborhoods and offering city-wide reports.
  • Colorado Sun, a four-year old, statewide public benefit corporation focused strongly on the state’s policy and politics, environment, outdoors and serving the wider needs and interests of Coloradans.
  • Daily Memphian, four-year-old, a broad-based news organization covering all of Memphis.
  • Long Beach Post, relaunched and expanded four years ago to become the primary news and community information source in the Long Beach (California) area.
  • Lookout Local/Lookout Santa Cruz, a two-year-old full-service news company now planning expansion, with Santa Cruz County its first community served.

Together, these new organizations employ more than 275 full-time journalists and business-side team members, paying professional salaries and developing a new, needed pipeline of diverse, across-the-generations mission-driven talent.

“Beyond becoming trusted news sources, we have created hundreds of new jobs within our communities,” said David Sommers, CEO and publisher of the Long Beach Post. “We are businesses returning to our cities and downtown cores — not retreating — bringing the economic benefits of job growth and new investment, which remains in the communities we cover and serve.”

“The Colorado Sun is excited to join with our ASLN colleagues across the country as we strive to build and grow vibrant, sustainable news organizations that our communities need and deserve,” said Larry Ryckman, editor and president of The Colorado Sun. “This is a group of do-ers. We’re already learning from each other, and this new alliance will accelerate those initiatives.”

These ASLN members share fundamental values in the greater movement to revive, reinvent and renew the kind of local news journalism communities all across North America deserve.

These are our key in-common characteristics:

  • We are mission-driven, aiming to set new digitally driven standards of trustworthy, non-partisan news in, for and with the communities we serve. We comprise both nonprofit and for-profit structures.
  • We have aimed to bring sufficient investment to our ventures so that we can create enterprises of sufficient size and scale. Our value to our communities, readers and advertisers is that of new primary news sources, intent on replacing flagging daily newspapers that have abandoned their own long-time missions.
  • We are business-driven, believing sustainable local news of scale must establish itself largely on earned revenue. We earn that revenue through reader revenue (subscription or membership), advertising, events and services.
  • We prize and appreciate philanthropic support, and see it as a key part of early investment and as a supplement over time.

“It’s no longer a question of searching for models that might replace dailies whose owners have disinvested,” said Ken Doctor, CEO of Lookout Local/Lookout Santa Cruz. “Our members are doing that — and becoming the primary, go-to news sources for their communities. Dedicated, mission-driven execution is what America’s communities need, and we are glad that ASLN can help lead the way.”

“While the fundamental journalism we do is not new, the models this group has pursued are innovative and complicated,” said Eric Barnes, CEO of the Daily Memphian. “Sharing ideas about the successes and challenges we’ve had has been incredibly valuable as we continue to grow and expand.”

For 2023, our initial aims are clear.

We intend to advocate for the need to create new, large, mission-driven news organizations as quickly and prudently as possible, especially given the faster spiraling-down of much of the legacy daily press being squeezed of its last profit by financial engineers.

We will call for big tent thinking that includes all serious-minded, next-generation local news providers to be included in the larger debate of local news revival, and its funding.

We will seek shared solutions that can benefit both ASLN members and those in the wider industry, to reduce costs and enable us all to focus on the local news work itself.

We look forward to working with those — from those entering the business to those legacy publishers who have maintained their civic commitment — who share our passion for the work ahead, reviving local news and the democracies it feeds.

Imtiaz Patel, CEO
Baltimore Banner

Shamus Toomey, Publisher
Block Club Chicago

Larry Ryckman, Editor and President
Colorado Sun

Eric Barnes, CEO
Daily Memphian

David Sommers, CEO/Publisher
Long Beach Post

Ken Doctor, CEO
Lookout Local/Lookout Santa Cruz


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