COURIER Announces Staffing Changes and Promotions
New York, NY — COURIER announced this week new staff roles and promotions as part of its continued growth and evolution. Kimberly Lawson will now serve as VP of Community Content, Pat Rynard as National Political Editorial Director, Kate Bassett as National Political Director, and Victoria Leandra as Head of Social.
While other media organizations are laying off staff and cutting positions, COURIER is expanding its team. A full list of available job opportunities can be found here.
KIM LAWSON, VP of Community Content
Kimberly Lawson has spent the last 15 years working in local journalism and audience-centered storytelling. She is a former alt weekly newspaper editor, and her freelance writing has primarily focused on issues of power through a gender lens. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, VICE, Rewire.News, The Week, and more. She joined COURIER in December 2019, and now calls Georgia home.
PAT RYNARD, National Political Editorial Director
Pat Rynard has spent the past 20 years working in Iowa journalism and politics. He founded Iowa Starting Line in 2015 and built the left-leaning news outlet into a nationally-respected and well-read source for Iowa news, expanding the operation into a full newsroom and being the leading outlet for Iowa Caucus coverage. Originally from Kansas City, home of the world champions, Rynard lives in the Des Moines metro with his wife and two daughters.
KATE BASSETT, National Political Director
Kate Bassett spent more than 20 years working at the intersection of local news and politics. She served as a Michigan Press Association award-winning editor for two decades, represented rural communities on a range of statewide boards and spent six years as a political strategist in campaigns and long-term infrastructure building in her home state of Michigan. She joined COURIER in March, 2022.
VICTORIA LEANDRA, Head of Social
Victoria Leandra is a Latina award-winning journalist and COURIER’s Head of Social. Previously at VICE and Bloomberg, her work has been published by HuffPost, Refinery29, Variety, Oprah Magazine, Bustle, Elite Daily, Mic, Popsugar, and Remezcla. She’s also been featured as an expert commentator on MSNBC Live, AM Joy on NBC News and Cheddar TV. Her Gen-Z perspective and unique social-first approach when creating multimedia content distinguishes her from the traditional journalist, resulting in organic growth and increased engagement.
COURIER is a civic media company that protects and strengthens our democracy through credible, fact-based journalism that seeks to create a more informed, engaged, and representative America.
CONTACT: RC Di Mezzo, firstname.lastname@example.org
ICYMI: AG Josh Shapiro Joined COURIER + The Keystone For A Candidate Forum
The Democratic nominee for PA Governor laid out his case for why he’s the best candidate for the job
PHILADELPHIA, PA — COURIER and its Pennsylvania-based newsroom The Keystone hosted a candidate forum with AG and Democratic nominee for Governor Josh Shapiro Wednesday night. AG Shapiro talked with COURIER founder and publisher Tara McGowan about why he’s the best candidate for the job.
In case you missed it live, here are a few highlights from the event:
- Shapiro talks about his plans to protect reproductive freedom in PA from republican efforts to ban abortion,
- Shapiro on opponent Mastriano’s threats to not recognize results of the election,
- How Shapiro talks to his kids about hate speech and anti-sematism and how he addresses it as a candidate for governor,
- Shapiro on future plans to run for president,
- Shapiro’s closing argument for PA voters.
The full candidate forum can be watched here.
Democratic Nominee for PA Governor Josh Shapiro to Participate in COURIER Candidate Forum
Live, in-person event sponsored by COURIER and its PA outlet The Keystone
PHILADELPHIA, PA — COURIER and its Pennsylvania-based newsroom The Keystone are hosting a candidate forum featuring the PA Attorney General and Democratic nominee for governor Josh Shapiro on October 19th in Philadelphia. The event will be co-hosted by actress and comedian Ilana Glazer and COURIER’s publisher Tara McGowan.
This is COURIER’s first live event and is the first in a series of candidate forums to be hosted by the news organization across the country ahead of Election Day.
What: COURIER + The Keystone’s candidate forum featuring Attorney General and Democratic nominee for governor Josh Shapiro.
Who: The AG in conversation with COURIER publisher Tara McGowan. Event will be hosted by Ilana Glazer, star of Broad City and False Positive.
Where: The Bok Building 1901 S 9th St. Philadelphia, PA. Entrance on 800 Mifflin St.
When: Oct. 19, 2022 at 6:30 PM ET — press can begin set up at 5:45 PM ET
RSVP: This event is open to the press, but an RSVP is required. Use this form.
“Our audiences of under-reached news consumers deserve to hear directly from candidates in the races that impact their lives the most,” said COURIER founder and publisher Tara McGowan. “We deliver quality news to these audiences everyday on social media and we are excited to now be doing so through live events.”
Courier Newsroom is building the largest left-leaning local news network in the country — neutralizing false information by delivering good, factual information directly to those stuck in right-wing echo chambers. COURIER’s network of local newsrooms is dedicated to providing honest, relevant news and stories to the communities we report from.
For more information please contact RC Di Mezzo at email@example.com or by phone at (315) 368-3660.
COURIER’s Wisconsin Newsroom, UpNorthNews, Nominated for 2 ‘Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism’ Awards
Eau Claire, WI — Two stories produced by UpNorthNews, a Courier Newsroom outlet in Wisconsin, have been nominated for awards in the 92nd annual Milwaukee Press Club “Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism” contest.
The two stories – “The Problem of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Marinette, and the Solutions That Could Take as Long” and “One Year Later, COVID-19 Deaths Leave Many Holes Across Wisconsin” – were nominated in the Best Hard Feature Story for Online Outlets and Best Pandemic Story (Online Outlets) categories, respectively.
Courier’s reporting is unique in that it is produced by and for the local communities it reports on — delivering the news to folks where they are: on social media and in their email inboxes. It is high quality journalism adapted for today’s audiences.
UpNorthNews’s nominated pieces are just two examples of the daily content that is produced and distributed by Courier’s eight state newsrooms across the country. Our newsrooms distill and localize the most pressing news stories and topics, and present them in skimmable and shareable formats.
“Up North News’s recognition for their stellar journalistic work proves that our approach to local news still delivers high-quality journalism while engaging new audiences who may feel left behind by legacy media,” said Tara McGowan, founder and Publisher of Courier Newsroom. “We believe that localizing and contextualizing how the decisions being made in Washington and in statehouses across the country affect people’s day to day lives at the local level will help deepen Americans’ civic engagement within their own communities.”
COURIER’s NC Newsroom, Cardinal & Pine, Takes Home nine Awards from NC Press Association Contest
Charlotte, NC — An impressive nine pieces of COURIER outlet Cardinal & Pine’s journalism have been awarded prizes by the North Carolina Press Association.
C&P was awarded five first place, one second place, and three third place prizes in the association’s annual journalism contest
COURIER’s reporting is unique in that it is produced by and for the local communities it reports on — delivering the news to folks where they are: on social media and in their email inboxes. It is high quality journalism adapted for today’s audiences.
C&P’s nominated pieces are just two examples of the daily content that is produced and distributed by COURIER’s eight state newsrooms across the country. Our newsrooms distill and localize the most pressing news stories and topics, and present them in skimmable and shareable formats.
The announcement comes on the heels of COURIER’s release of data from an RCT experiment in Virginia validating the effectiveness of its unique model of news distribution via boosting on social media platforms.
“COURIER combines award winning journalism with distribution tactics that ensure underserved audiences actually see our work,” said Tara McGowan, founder and Publisher of COURIER. “Our team at Cardinal & Pine furthers our mission every day and these newest accolades further prove the quality of journalism that they produce.”
COURIER Hires Politics Editor, Carolyn Fiddler
COURIER Celebrates Third Anniversary
New York, NY — COURIER, a network of eight local, online newsrooms spread across the country, celebrated its third anniversary on June 28.
Founded in 2019, COURIER has localized, contextualized award-winning journalism for coverage for an audience often left behind by legacy and mainstream media. Its model focuses on meeting our audiences where they are – on social media and in their email inboxes – with skimmable and easily consumable content.
Since its founding, COURIER has launched and acquired eight local newsrooms, grown its total audience to nearly 800,000, and was acquired by anti-disinformation start up Good Information, Inc. The journalism that the COURIER teams have produced have been recognized by press associations across the country and have been amplified by larger news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Time.
COURIER’s audience numbers accrued over the past three years have put it in the company of other major local news organizations.
“I am beyond proud of what COURIER has accomplished in just three years,” said COURIER’s Founder and Publisher, Tara McGowan. “Local news is collapsing in America today, and with it, access to good, trustworthy information. We are reimagining local news with a content development and distribution model that meets people where and how they consume information today, and leveraging that model to increase informed civic participation among some of the most politically disengaged Americans. I truly believe COURIER’s model will be one news organizations of all sizes will soon be emulating.”
Nearly Two-Thirds Of Voters Support Jan. 6th Committee
WASHINGTON, DC — A new COURIER / Data For Progress poll released today shows an overwhelming majority of Americans — 65% — support the U.S. House’s bipartisan investigation into the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE POLL:
- A majority of voters support the work of the January 6th Select Committee (65%).
- A plurality of voters — 43% — believe Donald Trump bears “a lot of responsibility” for the January 6th attack; while an additional 12% believe he bears “some responsibility.
- When asked “how concerned or not concerned are you about Trump Republicans promoting violence to achieve political goals in future elections,” 44% of respondents said they were “very concerned,” with an additional 17% claiming to be “somewhat concerned.”
- Asked whether individuals and groups, including elected officials like Donald Trump, should be held criminally responsible for fueling the January 6th attack, 56% agreed.
- When asked “would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate that worked to overturn the 2020 election, such as voting to decertify the results, or would it not affect your choice,” 46% of respondents said they would be less likely to support a candidate fitting that description.
- 50% of voters would be less likely to support a candidate for office that continues to claim the 2020 election was rigged — compared to 20% who said they would be more likely to support that candidate.
To view the full results, click here. From May 27 to 31, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,220 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.
NRSC Chair Plan To Raise Taxes, Sunset Fed. Programs Toxic To Voters
WASHINGTON, DC — A new poll released today by COURIER and Data For Progress shows Americans of all political backgrounds overwhelmingly reject the agenda proposed by the Republican senator tasked with winning back the upper chamber — Rick Scott (R-FL).
- 94% of voters have heard “nothing” or “only a little” about Sen. Rick Scott’s plan to increase taxes on more than half of all Americans and end Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act in five years, unless Congress votes to reauthorize them.
- The GOP plan is universally unpopular with 71% of voters, including 62% of Republicans, stating opposition to the plan. Only 15% of respondents support it.
- Among independent voters, the plan is electoral poison for Republicans with 47% of independent voters saying the plan would make them less likely to vote for Republican candidates in November, while only 12% said it would make them more likely to vote for him — 41% said it wouldn’t impact their choice.
To view the full results, click here. From April 30 to May 3, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,110 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.
RC Di Mezzo
Localizing & Contextualizing The End Of Roe V. Wade
Much has and will continue to be written about POLITICO’s bombshell report that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn landmark decision Roe v. Wade. But too often, local news outlets — understaffed and under-resourced — rely on regurgitated AP stories to fill the (web)pages of their publications.
Not us. At COURIER, we’re not just reporting the news out of Washington, we’re digesting that news and presenting it to our audience in a way that’s relevant to their lives and their communities.
Here’s a look at some of our recent coverage — published and distributed in the spaces where under-served news consumers spend their time: online — from around our eight state newsrooms, localizing the issue of abortion access and contextualizing the threat for voters.
Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Gov’t Involvement In Sexuality & Gender Identity, Poll Finds
WASHINGTON, DC — A new COURIER / Data For Progress poll released today shows an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the government has no place in discussions of a person’s sexuality or gender identity.
When asked to think about government involvement in a person’s sexuality and gender identity, 88% of respondents said they most identified with this statement: “The government should not have a say in personal matters like a person’s sexual preference or gender identity.”
A plurality of voters (48%) oppose laws that would restrict discussions about sexual orientation and LGBTQ history in classrooms and limit transgender rights. Additionally, a plurality of voters (39%) said they would be much less likely to vote for a candidate who would support laws that discriminate against LGBTQ individuals in schools.
The poll also found that voters seem to reject the most extreme examples of anti-LGBTQ laws/sentiments. A majority (55%) oppose Texas’ directive targeting transgender youth and their families. Additionally, a majority (55%) of voters do not buy right-wing talking accusation of “grooming,” saying that teachers and parents that support discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in school are not groomers.
While voters in general oppose anti-LGBTQ policies in schools, a majority of voters have heard only a little about the recent push in GOP-led state legislatures to target LGBTQ education.
From April 13 to 17, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,155 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. Full results.
RC Di Mezzo
Iowa Starting Line Story Leads To Money In Teachers’ Pockets
“YOUR TEAM GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE PAID”
Des Moines, IA — A story reported by COURIER outlet Iowa Starting Line (ISL) last month about teacher “thank you” bonuses being taxed by the state led directly to a State House amendment to put that money back in the pockets of Iowa teachers.
Having read previous ISL coverage on education and GOP efforts to impose state control over classrooms, affected teachers reached out to senior editor Ty Rushing to bring to light a discrepancy in the bonus promised by IA Governor Kim Reynolds (R) and the actual payout.
That reporting led to the introduction of an amendment by State Rep. Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque) to address the issue, citing Rushing’s reporting on the House floor. One week later, a similar, Republican-backed amendment passed the House, exempting the teacher bonuses’ from state taxes.
One Iowa labor leader later told ISL, “(y)our team got a lot of people paid.”
“Rushing and ISL’s reporting on Iowa’s teacher bonuses is another example of the direct and sometimes immediate impact quality, local reporting and access to good information can have on people’s everyday lives,” said Tara McGowan, founder and publisher of Courier Newsroom. “COURIER’s teams work day in and day out to not only represent the communities who are often forgotten by legacy news outlets through their reporting, but to inform them about how politics and policies impact their lives, which then empowers those communities to become more civically engaged. Democracy is at its best when everyone participates in it and that’s what nimble, local journalism can help make possible.”
RC Di Mezzo