Indiana Local News Initiative makes first hire of 25-person editorial staff

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Ariana Beedie
Ariana Beedie was announced Friday as central Indiana community journalism director for the Indiana Local News Initiative. (Photo provided by Ariana Beedie)

The Indiana Local News Initiative, a not-for-profit media organization that plans to launch a 25-person news organization in central Indiana this year, announced its first hire on Friday.

Ariana Beedie, presently the director of neighborhood engagement for the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, will be the organization’s central Indiana community journalism director.

The Indiana Local News Initiative also announced Friday that it is seeking a founding CEO and that its governing board is in place.

The organization is continuing the process of selecting an editor-in-chief for the central Indiana newsroom, a search that began in February with ILNI’s launch.

With more than $10 million raised and the participation of civic leaders such as Penske Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Miles, the Indiana Local News Initiative said it intends to report nonpartisan information at no cost to its audience.

A panel of Indianapolis residents, including activists Keith “Wildstyle” Paschall and Valerie Davis, theater director Kaya Dorsch and photographer Maxine Wallace, interviewed candidates for the community journalism director role.

Among Beedie’s tasks is the launch of a local affiliate of the Documenters Network, which trains and pays residents to attend public meetings and publish the results. Overseen by not-for-profit media organization City Bureau, documenters presently operate in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland.

“It’s very exciting to be able to work with my two passions: journalism and community,” Beedie said in a written statement. “Indianapolis is an incredible city. This publication will highlight, elevate and truly engage residents around what’s happening in our neighborhoods. It will work for and with neighbors to ensure the stories are accurate, and truly serve and reflect Central Indiana communities.”

In a job listing at the organization’s website, the annual compensation for the community journalism director was outlined as $75,000 to $90,000.

No salary guidelines are listed for the open positions of CEO and editor-in-chief.

Karen Ferguson Fuson, former publisher of The Indianapolis Star, serves as board chair of ILNI.

The search committee for the organization’s CEO includes Ferguson Fuson; Carolene Mays, former executive director of White River State Park Development Commission; Michael Ouimette, chief investment officer of the American Journalism Project; and Irving Washington, former CEO of the Online News Association.

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6 thoughts on “Indiana Local News Initiative makes first hire of 25-person editorial staff

  1. A former (or soon to be former?) Hogsett employee, a former IndyStar editor, a former democrat member of the General Assembly (albeit one who was respected by all sides). Will it really be non-partisan? Mark Miles’s involvement sounds like an IMS investment in good will at best and a hedge at worst. In any case, good luck to them. OBJECTIVE reporting is a responsibility. Unfortunately, we haven’t had any in a very long time.

    1. No, it won’t, and that’s precisely the intent.

      Though no media outlet can be truly perfectly non-partisan, historically many at least tried to be. Part of the journalistic code of ethics was an attempt to gather and impartially present a variety of perspectives. That code of ethics has been abandoned.

      This is one of many efforts being funded in red states that will intend to push the narrative further left, born out of a moral panic on the left that they are “losing” despite the fact that they have ideologically captured about 90% of institutions. Even Salvation Army and Walmart are woke, for crying out loud.

      My guess is that this “local news initiative” is going to be an effort to bring Indiana more in light with the globalist uniparty by taking a less generic, corporatist approach common Gannett papers (all of which are shedding subscribers) with more Indiana-centric articles, almost entirely through activist minded millennial and Gen Z journalists. The Craig Newmark Foundation is likely to have a hand, as are some of the nonprofit organizations funding big-name entities like Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

      View every word they write with suspicion.

  2. Hopefully this new news organization will be nonpartisan.

    The truth is, the Indianapolis Star is a leftwing activist newspaper.
    That’s why the Star’s circulation and staffing have plummeted.

    We don’t need another leftwing news organization.

  3. Ah yes, more tripe from the far right that parrot’s the Trump line that the media that doesn’t agree with him (or his supporters, or their agenda) is “an enemy of the people.” Yet, when the far right gets its media platforms (Newsmax, anyone?) there’s no criticism. I believe hypocrisy is the word for that.