In recent years, New York City, the country’s largest media market, has seen publications shutter and reporting staffs decimated by layoffs. A new digital nonprofit news outlet called The City, led by NYCity News Service Director Jere Hester, will attempt to fill the void by focusing on beats like politics, affordable housing, education and health care.
The digital outlet is set to launch in January 2019 in partnership with New York magazine. Hester plans to hire 15 journalists with funding from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Leon Levy Foundation, Texas Tribune founder John Thornton, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miranda Family Fund at the Hispanic Federation, and the Richard Ravitch Foundation.
“I’m incredibly excited about the new challenge, but it’s not easy to leave the J-School, which owns a big hunk of my heart,” said Hester, who has been the reporting and writing director since 2006. “I’ve been very fortunate so far to work for great institutions that serve the people of New York through journalism. Now, I have an opportunity to help start a new one at a time when local journalism could use some help.”
Under Hester’s leadership, NYCity News Service has won or been finalists for national awards, including five times for the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for best student investigation in the country. It was named the best site of its kind in the nation in Editor & Publisher’s EPPY Awards competition in 2017. This marked the second consecutive year the News Service won the Best College/University Newspaper Website award, and the third time since 2013.
“The rest of the city is about to find out what we’ve known for some time: Jere has a great nose for stories and offers the perfect blend of old-school reporting and editing with a cutting-edge digital sensibility,” said Dean Sarah Bartlett.