What is the Local
News Field Guide?
The Local News Field Guide is a resource for journalists and news entrepreneurs looking to reinvent the local news industry. The guide is written by staff members of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that provides essential local education reporting across the country.
Chalkbeat’s mission is to equip every stakeholder — from administrators and lawmakers to students and parents — with the information they need to make sound decisions. Chalkbeat provides education coverage in eight states, and in 2020 we launched Votebeat, a newsroom focused on local election administration and voting access. This topical approach builds trust through expertise, while our mission compels us to invest in relationships with communities that are often underserved.
Chalkbeat is one of the country’s largest nonprofit local news organizations. Our growing team of more than 80 staff members includes Pulitzer winners, Fulbright scholars, and senior leaders who have contributed to the country’s most prestigious publications (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Associated Press, etc.). The organization is female-founded, 40% nonwhite, and run by an all-female leadership team of experienced executives and accomplished journalists.
Our sturdy business model has allowed us to invest in quality journalism, support our team, and continue to expand our reach. Our revenue has grown year over year, with a $12 million budget in the 2021 fiscal year. We are particularly committed to increasing the philanthropic community’s investment in local news, and we have found our topical model is uniquely good at recruiting new dollars to the cause — for instance, turning long-time local education funders into local education news funders.
In Chalkbeat 2025, the strategic plan we published in 2019, we wrote of our commitment to civic local news, with a goal “to create a stronger news ecosystem that grows along with us.” The Local News Field Guide is part of that promise — to help others build on our successes, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately transform our local communities one article at time.
The Local News Field Guide is supported by Chalkbeat's partnership with the Google News Initiative (GNI). GNI works side-by-side with publishers and journalists to build a more sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem. Through programs, products and partnerships, the GNI strives to advance the practice of quality journalism and strengthen publisher business models in the digital age.