Announcing the winners of Substack Local: Telling the stories of our communities

Local journalism informs and brings together communities, but, facing a business model crisis, it has never been more under threat. That’s why we launched Substack Local, a $1 million initiative to help independent writers start sustainable local news enterprises. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the 12 winners of Substack Local.

This program is designed to support a writer’s work for a year while they establish their publication, giving them the freedom to focus on their reporting without the burden of administrative work or the upfront costs of starting their own media business.

From a competitive pool of applicants, a panel of independent judges selected 12 talented writers globally to receive an array of benefits, including mentorship from experienced journalists, access to specialized services including design and business strategy, and cash advances of up to $100,000.

The applicants were assessed on the following criteria: 1) a strong track record in news reporting; 2) commitment to building a full-time, enduring media business supported entirely by subscriptions; and 3) caring deeply about their local community. 

The winning writers are:

Adam Stone

Author of The Examiner News  (Mount Kisco, New York)

Adam is a local news publisher and journalist with over 20 years’ experience in community journalism. He plans to use all story-telling platforms (written word, audio, video) to publish fact-checked, well-sourced local news that readers can trust, while also helping to inform the community.

Alexandru Enășescu

Author of Iașul Nostru (Iași, Romania)

Alexandru works as a local reporter and national newsletter editor in Romania, who plans to publish a local newsletter that will focus on four main topics: 1) civic issues from an apolitical stance; 2) locals who improve their corner of the world; 3) arts and culture; and 4) food and drink.

David Hundeyin

Author of West Africa Weekly (Nigeria)

David is an award-winning investigative journalist aiming to tell Nigeria’s stories in a way that takes deep dives into topical issues combined with informed commentary and analysis.

Gaía Passarelli

Author of Paulicéia (São Paulo, Brazil)

Gaia has covered the independent cultural life in São Paulo since 2002. Gaia plans to publish monthly reports that examine the death and rebirth of culture in São Paulo, considering the pandemic, economic and social turmoil from 2019–2022.

George Chidi

Author of The Atlanta Objective (Atlanta, Georgia)

George is a former writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has spent the last 10 years trying to solve Atlanta’s problems directly when he’s not writing about them. George plans to publish deep reports on three essential Atlanta issues: criminal justice, racial inequality in the business community, and the effect of discrimination on the housing market.

Hanna Raskin

Author of The Food Section (Charleston, South Carolina)

As one of the top food reporters in the country, Hanna plans to publish reports, reviews, and analyses on the food-and-beverage industry and dining culture across the Southeast. Even though her beat is food, she hopes to bring readers a better understanding of the city in which they live.

Joshi Herrmann

Publisher of The Mill , The Tribune, and The Post (Manchester, Sheffield, and Liverpool, UK)

Joshi started The Mill in Manchester on Substack last year, and aims to build upon that momentum to publish well-reported, fact-checked stories written by journalists with a focus on two formats: long-form features and concise news briefings of Sheffield and Liverpool.

Melissa del Bosque & Todd Miller

Authors of The Border Chronicle (Based in Tucson, Arizona, writing about the US/Mexico border)

Longtime border journalists del Bosque and Miller will be focusing on reporting and analysis from the borderlands in their weekly newsletter. They'll also be obsessing about the border security industrial complex and talking to interesting fronterizos on their Border/Chronic podcast. 

Melissa del Bosque is an Emmy award-winning journalist in Tucson, Arizona, who has written about the U.S.-Mexico border for outlets including The Intercept, ProPublica, Harper’s, The Texas Observer, Texas Monthly and The Guardian. She is also the author of Bloodlines.

Todd Miller is a journalist who resides in Tucson, Arizona. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, among other places. Miller has authored four books: Build Bridges, Not Walls ,  Empire of Borders ,  Storming the Wall , and Border Patrol Nation.

Michelle Kuo & Albert Monshan Wu

Authors of Ample Road (Taipei, Taiwan)

Michelle is an experienced educator, writer, and researcher who is passionate about solidarity and social change. Albert Monshan Wu is a historian and professor who has worked in multiple languages and in archives across the world. Their ambition is to create the Village Voice of Taipei, highlighting, empowering, and disseminating local and marginalized voices in Taiwan. Funds will be used to compensate local writers, translators, artists, and activists with whom they collaborate.

Rachel Leingang & Hank Stephenson

Authors of Arizona News (Phoenix, Arizona)

Rachel and Hank are veteran local political reporters who want to break out of the confines of corporate media with a product that will provide fun, accessible, aggressive accountability coverage of Arizona’s government, prioritizing those affected by the government’s decisions.

Peri Strathearn

Author of Murray Bridge News (Murray Bridge, Australia)

Peri is an award-winning local journalist with more than 10 years’ experience who launched a Substack in 2020 to better serve his community. His publication, Murray Bridge News, tells the stories that create a sense of community in the Murraylands, empowering local people, collaborating with and advocating for them, and projecting a positive image of their region.

Sarah Baird

Author of The Goldenrod (Kentucky)

Sarah is a long-time journalist and author whose work focuses primarily on rural issues and culture. Her publication, The Goldrenrod, named after Kentucky's humble state flower, will be a thrice-weekly news and culture publication covering the vibrant – but currently under-served – small towns, hamlets and communities of Central and Eastern Kentucky.

We’re thrilled to support these talented writers on Substack and offer them all our sincere congratulations. We look forward to reading their work as they tell the stories of their communities.

We’d also like to thank Anne Helen Petersen (Culture Study), Zeynep Tufekci (Insight), Dick Tofel (Second Rough Draft), and Rachael Larimore (The Dispatch) for serving as judges for this initiative.

Stay tuned for more details over the coming days and weeks. 

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