California Local News Fellowship Announces Inaugural Cohort

August 22, 2023

Berkeley, CAGeeta Anand, dean of Berkeley Journalism, today announced the inaugural cohort of the California Local News Fellowship program, a path-breaking initiative funded by the people of California and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year.

The program will support community news and information needs throughout California by providing two-year fellowships for up to 120 early career journalists over the next three years. Fellows will fan out to local newsrooms from Humboldt to San Diego and Fresno to Half Moon Bay, with a focus on underserved communities. This year’s inaugural cohort of 39 California Local News fellows, who begin their service in early September, is the first of three made possible by a $25 million appropriation from the state.

The fellowship program, spearheaded by Sen. Steve Glazer who represents California Senate District 7, is a response to the problems facing community news in California and across the United States, Anand said. “News and information that’s useful to our communities and neighbors is the building block for a vibrant democracy. This program will help strengthen local newsrooms of all kinds to better serve their audiences, telling the stories that matter. It’s also a model for how other states can support community news.” Anand noted that the state of Washington has already funded a program modeled on the California program, and other states are considering doing the same.

The fellowship program is guided by an 17-person advisory board that represents the state’s newsrooms and journalism education institutions. The advisory board, together with the fellowship staff, reviewed more than 90 newsroom applications and 170 fellow applications and selected a cohort that is reflective of the state’s diversity. Thirty-five of the selected fellows have attended California community colleges, California State Universities and/or the University of California system. They were matched with local newsrooms including for-profits, nonprofits, ethnic media, public radio stations, and youth media organizations.

The fellowship program will provide the selected journalists with invaluable hands-on newsroom experience, as they will immerse themselves in local reporting and gain a deep understanding of the communities in which they are based. To augment the newsroom experience, fellows also will receive comprehensive training and mentorship from industry professionals throughout the two-year program.

“At a time when the journalism industry is facing a variety of existential threats, from polarization and lack of trust in news to profound business model failures, our aim is to be a bright spot, filling critical gaps in reporting and creating a viable career path for the next generation of journalists,” Christa Scharfenberg, project director of the Fellowship program, said.

About the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Widely regarded as one of the country’s most respected journalism graduate programs, Berkeley Journalism’s mission is to expand the worldwide impact of truth-seeking, fact-based and inclusive journalism by training the next generation of diverse journalists to become exceptional storytellers.

Since the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s founding in 1968, alumni have gone on to staff — and run — the country’s top news organizations and to win virtually every major industry award.

2023-2025 Newsrooms

Access Humboldt, Eureka
Asian American Media, San Francisco
Bay Area News Group, San Jose
Bay City News, Berkeley
BenitoLink, Hollister
Boyle Heights Beat, Los Angeles
CALÓ NEWS, Los Angeles
CapRadio, Sacramento
Coachella Valley Independent, Cathedral City
El Tímpano, Oakland
Fresno Bee, Fresno
Fresnoland, Fresno
Half Moon Bay Review and Pacifica Tribune Half Moon Bay, Half Moon Bay
India Currents Foundation, San Jose
Inewsource, San Diego
KALW Public Media, San Francisco
KPBS, San Diego
KVCR, San Bernardino
L.A. Focus Newspaper, Inglewood
La Opinión, Los Angeles
Long Beach Post, Long Beach
Los Angeles Times, El Segundo
Mission Local, San Francisco
North State Public Radio, Chico
Oakland Post, Oakland
Radio Bilingüe, Inc, Fresno
Richmond Pulse, Point Richmond
San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, San Diego
San Francisco Public Press, San Francisco
San José Spotlight, San Jose
Santa Cruz Local, Santa Cruz
Slavic Sacramento, Walnut Creek
Southern CA News Group/The OC Register, Irvine
The Oaklandside, Oakland
The Sacramento Observer, Sacramento
The San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol Newspapers, San Fernando
Vida Newspaper, Oxnard

For media inquiries, please contact:
Christa Scharfenberg
Project Director
christas@berkeley.edu

Please visit the California Local News Fellowship website for more information.

###

Dean's Newsletter

Black and white portrait of Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand with short hair and hoop earrings, wearing a dark top. The background is blurred foliage.

Quarterly Newsletter From Dean Geeta Anand

Spring 2024 Dear Berkeley Journalism community: With great optimism about the future of our school, I share with you news of the largest gift in the history of Berkeley Journalism:…