Three of Houston’s leading philanthropies — Houston Endowment, the Kinder Foundation and Arnold Ventures — have joined forces with the American Journalism Project and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to invest $20 million in an independent, local nonprofit news operation in Houston that will be one of the largest in the country.

The initiative will be sustained by a diverse mix of local contributions, including philanthropy, corporate partnerships and audience support. This will ensure the organization is both independent and grounded in local needs.

The project is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of research for which the American Journalism Project conducted surveys, interviews and focus groups with more than300 people in four languages across Greater Houston. The findings provided a deep understanding of residents’ daily information needs and the gaps that existing media lacks the resources to cover.

A local search committee will select a Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief.

We will provide information without barriers, distributed across multiple formats and platforms, free from paywalls or subscription requirements. We also be forming a community advisory committee, comprising a diverse representation of stakeholders who can openly provide feedback on whether the newsroom is living up to its mission. This feedback will be used to inform coverage decisions, but not dictate them.

Our newsroom will join forces with other local news organizations to broaden the relevant reporting available to all residents.

Join the founding team

The Houston Local News Initiative is hiring! We are conducting an open search for a CEO and an Editor-in-Chief. The search committees for this hiring process represent stakeholders from journalism, nonprofit and business sectors

Circular walkway of the Chevron buildings in downtown Houston, Texas
Ann Stern

Ann Stern

President & CEO

Houston Endowment

Armando Perez

Armando Perez

Executive Vice President

H-E-B Houston

Dr. Anne S. Chao

Dr. Anne S. Chao

Manager

Houston Asian-American Archive, Rice University

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen

Executive Vice President

Arnold Ventures

Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D.

Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D.

Howard R. Hughes Provost and President-Elect

Rice University

Rich Kinder

Rich Kinder

Chairman, Kinder Foundation

Executive Chairman, Kinder Morgan Inc.

What people are saying

“Reliable local journalism connects us to our community in meaningful ways, is key for informed decision-making, and is critical to a healthy democracy.  There is no better time for this very important project.”

—Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D., Howard R. Hughes Provost and President-Elect, Rice University

“Changes in our news landscape – from the disruption of print media to the rise of social media – have deepened information gaps within our community. There is a clear and pressing need to address these gaps and provide residents with reliable, credible, and nonpartisan news. The establishment of an independent and community-driven news organization will enable our society to uphold accountability and decrease polarization within our society.”

—Armando Perez, Executive VP, Houston Food & Drug, H-E-B Houston

“In today’s media climate where misinformation and fake news abound, I look forward to the creation of a news organization that will provide balanced, reasoned and well-researched information about and for the Greater Houston communities.”

—Dr. Anne Chao, Manager of the Houston Asian American Archive, Rice University