Chalkbeat launched in 2013 to address an alarming collision: the business model for news was collapsing during a period of dramatic upheaval in American education. In particular, local news faced an existential threat just as public education — which is inherently local — was undergoing transformation in how schools were governed, funded, and assigned students.
Six years later, Chalkbeat is one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in America, reporting on the most critical topics in education across seven states. We have published thousands of stories and spurred real-world changes in every state where we operate, from the shuttering of a flagrantly mismanaged virtual school in Indiana to the abolishment of a high-school admissions method in New York City that penalized low-income families. We’ve won 60 local and national journalism awards and mobilized 1,345 donors and sponsors to support our work.
While Chalkbeat has expanded, the local news crisis has accelerated, leaving Chalkbeat with a formidable challenge: We are chasing growing demand for high-quality local education news at a time when resources for news have never been more scarce.
The task is daunting, but our unique model — a nonprofit newsroom covering a single topic in multiple locations — represents a promising path forward. By accepting the economics of the internet and using them to our advantage, we have mobilized new and diverse sources of support for an essential public good. We’ve reimagined what local news can be as we’ve rebuilt it, elevating a subject that was previously a stepping-stone beat for rookie reporters, treating readers as partners, and focusing exclusively on the education story that matters most: the almost 30 million children in America who live near or below the poverty line.
Keep reading Chalkbeat’s strategic plan.