Christa Scharfenberg

Christa Scharfenberg

Director, California Local News Fellowships

Christa Scharfenberg is the project director of the California Local Journalism Fellowship program at Berkeley Journalism.

Scharfenberg joined the School in October 2022 from the American Journalism Project, described as “the first-ever venture philanthropy dedicated to nonprofit local news.” As senior vice president for portfolio success, she led coaching and support for a diverse portfolio of local news organizations and oversaw the organization’s learning and evaluation work.

Prior to AJP, Scharfenberg spent more than 18 years at The Center for Investigative Reporting, serving as CEO from 2017-2021. She helped lead CIR’s growth from a small nonprofit to a multi-platform newsroom reaching millions of people through extensive local, national and international media partnerships and the Reveal website, public radio show, podcast and documentaries. Under Scharfenberg, CIR also implemented innovative approaches to collaboration and community engagement.

While at CIR, Scharfenberg was part of the team that created and oversaw the statewide reporting initiative “California Watch” in 2009, which included partnerships with for-profit and community news organizations throughout the state. In addition, she was deeply involved in CIR’s merger with the San Francisco-based nonprofit newsroom The Bay Citizen in 2012.

Scharfenberg is also an executive and senior producer of documentaries, including the Academy Award-nominated film “Heroin(e),” numerous FRONTLINE co-productions and the independent film “Banished,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. She is a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board and was a 2014 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program fellow at Columbia University Journalism School.

She has participated in several collaborations over the years with Berkeley Journalism including with the Investigative Reporting Program, and served on the planning committee for the annual Reva & David Logan Symposium in Investigative Reporting.