Joe Kieta appointed inaugural executive editor for Central Valley Journalism Collaborative (CVJC)

Advancing nonprofit journalism infrastructure for a resilient Central Valley media landscape


The Central Valley Journalism Collaborative (CVJC), a nonprofit launched by the James B. McClatchy Foundation (JBMF) in 2021, is thrilled to announce Joe Kieta as its inaugural executive editor. He brings more than two decades of experience as an innovative journalist leading newsrooms in the Central Valley and across the United States. His appointment aligns with CVJC's mission of revitalizing public service journalism in the heart of California.

Kieta's passion for chronicling Central Valley communities and his understanding of nonprofit news aligns with CVJC's ambitious goal of building a thriving, innovative, and sustainable model for local journalism in California's heartland. While serving as executive editor of The Fresno Bee, he led the creation of philanthropic-funded reporting labs that added journalists covering issues such as education and diverse communities. Earlier, he served as the top newsroom executive for The Modesto Bee and the Merced Sun-Star. His time living in each of these communities has given him a keen understanding of the region CVJC serves.

At CVJC, Kieta will oversee the organization's news operations, which include a growing team of seven journalists and The Merced FOCUS news site. He will also play a key role in developing CVJC's work to uplift the Central Valley's news ecosystem through partnerships with and support for news organizations as well as engagement with the Valley's diverse constituents and communities.

"We are delighted to welcome Joe as our new Executive Editor. His editorial leadership expertise and extensive experience building Central Valley news partnerships align perfectly with our collaborative approach to local community storytelling. Under his editorial oversight, CVJC will continue its growth trajectory and contribute meaningfully to our communities," said Alma Martinez, executive director of CVJC.

Kieta's appointment signifies a strategic move toward strengthening CVJC's impact by building a regional news infrastructure, ensuring the longevity of high-quality journalism, and reinforcing inclusivity in the region.

"Joining the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative in this transformative role is an absolute honor," Kieta said. "Leading the charge to construct a nonprofit journalism infrastructure is not just thrilling but vital, especially in the face of the unprecedented challenges confronting local newsrooms. Together, we will forge a path that guarantees journalism's resilience and ongoing relevance in the heart of the Central Valley."

With the addition of this key leadership role, the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative is poised for a transformative journey heralding an emerging era of nonprofit journalism infrastructure in service to Central Valley communities.

About Central Valley Journalism Collaborative:

Launched by the James B. McClatchy Foundation (JBMF) in 2021 as part of its sunset strategy, the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative (CVJC) is a new nonprofit infrastructure dedicated to keeping public service journalism thriving in California's Central Valley despite the collapse of the traditional media industry over the last 15 years, and the outright demise of independent, local news in many communities. JBMF is establishing this new journalism collaborative as a commitment to the Valley's multiracial communities to fortify First Amendment press freedoms,  strengthen diversity in journalism, and give visibility to perspectives often marginalized in mainstream news — core values to the Foundation's mission and vision.


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