NOTUS: Covering government, politics and elections, while training the next generation of journalists


Nonprofit news outlet NOTUS is keeping a close eye on all things government, politics and the election campaigns, but what makes the Washington, D.C.-based outlet unique are the bylines behind the daily reporting.

Short for News of the United States, the publication provides in-depth analysis reported by journalism newcomers alongside veteran reporters about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and why the news matters beyond Congress. NOTUS, launched in January, is the nonprofit news arm of the Allbritton Journalism Institute (AJI), which trains aspiring journalists. Robert Allbritton started the institute in 2023.

Editor-in-Chief Tim Grieve calls AJI a teaching hospital for journalists in that reporters become good by covering stories day in and day out. While NOTUS has a website, it also publishes a newsletter with four top stories and other stories they’re looking at called NOT-US every weekday morning.

“Other publications just referred to us as NOTUS and without annotation, like you know what this is. That’s been really gratifying,” said Grieve. “Our reporters and fellows no longer need to explain what NOTUS is when they go to meet with somebody on the Hill or do the reporting in Washington.” 

While NOTUS’ focus is to cover the news, the publication will be a place where aspiring journalists will be trained. Ten fellows from diverse backgrounds were selected and committed to two years of working with AJI. They receive a salary, health insurance and paid time off for that commitment. The following class will be selected and will start in September. The current fellows are assigned to cover specific state delegations in Congress in the hopes they find some accountability coverage.

The 2023-2025 AJI fellows are (l to r) Nuha Dolby, Ben T. N. Mause, Casey Murray, Claire Heddles, Ryan Hernández, Katherine Swartz, Tinashe Chingarande, Calen Razor, John T. Seward and Tara Kavaler.

“Our first priority is teaching and mentoring the fellows, and if we’re doing that well, then a great publication will be a necessary byproduct of that,” Grieve said.

Tinashe Chingarande, a reporter for NOTUS and a fellow at AJI, has collaborated with experienced reporters to produce unique stories, such as President Biden’s allies blaming misinformation for his loss of support among Black voters. The mentoring happens, but for Chingarande, taking ownership of their work has helped her grow as a reporter. 

“When you talk to other reporters who are up and coming or new in other newsrooms, that sort of takes place. You’re getting acclimated to, at least, reporting on the Hill and reporting on politics,” Chingarande said. “Our website launched in January, and … just the level of work that we’re producing and the level of thinking and engaging with the field is really advanced.”

After the two years, fellows will look for jobs outside of NOTUS. Grieve expects fellows and NOTUS to have a lasting experience.

“An ultimate success for us is the fellows who leave our program, land well and really succeed in journalism and take some of the ideas of emphasis on non-partisan reporting into the newsroom,” Grieve said.

Keldy Ortiz is a New York-based writer and educator. He has written for publications locally and nationally. (Photo by Michael Jackson)


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