Carolina Public Press, a new online outlet dedicated to “in-depth, investigative and independent reporting on the overlooked and under-reported people, places and issues facing the 17 westernmost counties of North Carolina,” launched today, March 3.
The not-for-profit has initial funding from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, as well as private donors, according to Angie Newsome, editor and founder.
“We chose a nonprofit model so we can keep the content free and so that it would also be available for other organizations and media outlets to use as well,” she explains. “It’s kind of the NPR model, in that we’ll be asking pretty consistently for contributions.”
Newsome adds that those contributors “won’t have any control over the content at all” and that “the project’s independence is very important.”
She’s enlisted an impressive roster of freelance reporters and photographers to contribute to the outlet, including former Xpress Managing Editor Jon Elliston. However, Newsome describes the site as a bare-bones operation, noting that she and Assistant Editor Kathleen O. Davis are “very part time.”
“We have a big mission and a small amount of money to make it happen,” she says.
On its founding day, the outlet features several stories, including “Census Bureau Releases Data Snapshot of WNC’s Counties,” “NC Voter ID Law Could Cost State at Least $18 Million,” and “North Carolina’s Budget Woes Mean Hard Days Ahead for WNC’s Public, Private Workers.”
Newsome says that, for now, she plans to post original content to the site three times a week. In the months ahead, “hopefully, with some content sharing agreements with other organizations, we’ll be able to update it five times a week,” she adds.