The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism is a nonprofit organization founded in the summer of 2021 to bring high-quality local news to the Baltimore metro area. The news landscape has witnessed fundamental transformations resulting in a dramatic loss of capacity in local news. In June 2022, it launched The Baltimore Banner with a mission to be an indispensable resource that strengthens, unites and inspires our communities. We will accomplish this through trustworthy quality journalism that tells the varied stories of our people, holds our leaders accountable, and delivers local news that readers are willing to support.
Tashi McQueen is a political beat reporter concentrating on voter education for Afro News, which serves Baltimore’s Black community. Prior to joining the Afro, McQueen freelanced for The Baltimore Sun, with her first story earning a spot on the front page. Holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Goucher College, McQueen got her start in journalism by reporting for The Goucher Eye, the college’s digital news source. She is a member of the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists, and she speaks French and Spanish and enjoys learning new languages in her free time.
Zshekinah Collier reports on education and the environment in Baltimore, Maryland for WYPR, a public radio station serving the metro area. Previously, she was a producer for “Disrupted,” a weekly talk show on Connecticut Public Radio. In 2021, as a member of the Ida B. Wells Society’s inaugural summer internship program, Collier joined USA Today’s investigative team and contributed to coverage of the Capitol riots, and the Title IX investigation. Collier earned her bachelor’s degree at American University, where she was co-editor-in-chief of The Blackprint, a student-run publication covering issues affecting students of color, news and pop culture. After graduating, Collier was a freelancer covering local events in her hometown, New Haven, Connecticut
The Baltimore Afro-American is a news service, founded in 1892, that writes and reports news for and about African Americans. Staffers' reporting appears on the news site, in the weekly paper, and on social media platforms. The reporting includes a type of advocacy journalism that goes beyond reporting facts, and lends itself to how the news affects African Americans and their communities.
WYPR is Baltimore's NPR news station and has served the community for nearly 20 years. WYPR is committed to covering a diverse community. Its mission is to inform, connect and even challenge listeners in the metro area, and across the state via signals in Frederick and Ocean City, Maryland, by broadcasting programs of intellectual integrity and cultural merit. In 2021, it won several of the industry's highest journalism awards.
The Baltimore Sun, founded in 1837, is the largest daily newspaper in Maryland, with a coverage area that includes Baltimore City and five surrounding counties. Much of The Sun’s journalism has exposed corruption and sparked changes, including the resignation of the city’s mayor this year. At the same time, we surface powerful, often under-the-radar tales and trend pieces, like the struggle of refugees in a Baltimore high school, or how the century-long history of a vacant house—which collapsed and killed a man—told the story of our city.
Megan Sayles is a business reporter for The Baltimore Afro-American paper. Before this, Sayles interned with Baltimore Magazine, where she wrote feature stories about the city's residents, nonprofits and initiatives. Her love of music inspired her to be a writer. At a young age she realized it was not the melody that she was so infatuated with, but the lyrics that made up the song and connected with listeners. Sayles grew up in Pasadena, Maryland, and is a 2021 graduate of the University of Maryland, where for her senior capstone project she reported on how the coronavirus and inequality intersected in Baltimore. She also worked as a staff writer and copy editor for campus publications, including Stories Beneath the Shell and The Black Explosion. Sayles teamed up with a partner to report on how the pandemic had put many more responsibilities on the oldest child in families. The Associated Press and other news organizations picked up her story.
Sophie Burkholder is the lead reporter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Technical.ly, the technology news network, where she focuses on economic development, equity, and access in the area's tech and innovation communities. A native of Pittsburgh, Burkholder has covered science, health, business and economics through internships and freelance work at Philadelphia Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, PublicSource and TechCrunch. Her work has explored various topics, including the economic impact of the pandemic on Philadelphia's small business community, renewed grassroots efforts towards equity in the tech workforce, and the challenges of COVID-19 vaccine access for homebound patients. Burkholder earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, with an additional concentration in startup operations and entrepreneurship.
The Baltimore Afro-American newspaper is one of the oldest Black-owned newspapers in the country. For more than 128 years, it has been the town crier that sounded the alarm when needed in the Black community and the last voice at night that declared “all is well.” Today, The AFRO-American reports on a variety of issues affecting African-Americans. It has two publications — one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Baltimore.
Stephanie García reports for The Baltimore Sun focusing on Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the Maryland city. She is a former news assistant for PBS NewsHour and a foreign desk intern for The Independent. Garcia spent two years teaching English in Madrid. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Arizona, she was an Adult Education Coordinator assisting refugees in Phoenix. Originally from Queens, New York, Garcia graduated magna cum laude from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.