Nonprofit group working to strengthen local news in middle, south Georgia


MACON, Ga. — The nonprofit National Trust for Local News is establishing the Georgia Trust for Local News, a new community newspaper company that will serve Middle and South Georgia.

Anchored by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Georgia Trust for Local News is dedicated to providing and strengthening impartial, timely, and relevant community news.

The Georgia Trust will begin operations in January with a portfolio of 18 newspapers that serve 900,000 Georgians in communities across Middle and South Georgia and an initiative to stand up a new community news source in Macon.

Particpating newspapers include The Albany Herald, Dublin’s Courier Herald, The Sparta Ishmaelite and The Talbotton New Era.

“We are protecting and expanding the work that these wonderful newspapers already do for nearly one million Georgians in the heart of our state,” said DuBose Porter, the longtime publisher of the Dublin Courier-Herald Group who will serve as the Georgia Trust’s executive director and whose newspapers will become the backbone of the Georgia Trust. “Each of our newspapers serves a different community in a distinct way and all will have greater resources and stronger infrastructure to provide first-rate community journalism.”

The Georgia Trust will be led by a diverse group with deep roots in Georgia. Alongside Executive Director DuBose Porter, Caleb Slinkard will serve as Executive Editor. Slinkard was most recently Georgia Editor at McClatchy, where he led the newsrooms of The Macon Telegraph and The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Longtime Georgia newspaper executive Pam Burney will serve as General Manager.

“Community journalism is about strengthening our connections to each other and our understanding of the world around us,” Slinkard said. “It’s how folks keep tabs on local governments and school boards, follow high school sports and learn what’s going on in their neighborhoods.”

The Georgia Trust for Local News is using philanthropic funding to launch its work, and subscribers, advertisers, and community members will continue to sustain it.

“With this grant, Knight Foundation furthers two of our deepest commitments: to strengthening the Macon community, and to supporting local news,” said Jim Brady, vice president of journalism for Knight Foundation. “We are honored to be a founding funder of the National Trust for Local News and to contribute to the growth of sustainable and independent news in Georgia.”

“Local news only works when it’s created and sustained by local people,” says Lisa Borders, a member of the National Trust for Local News board of directors and former president of the Grady Health and Coca-Cola Foundations. “From supporters like the Woodruff, Casey, and Knight foundations, to the journalists and staff at these iconic papers, and to leaders like DuBose, Caleb and Pam, the Georgia Trust for Local News has deep roots in Georgia. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve our state.”

“Strong, sustainable and non-partisan local news is essential to healthy communities,” says Woodruff Foundation President Russ Hardin. “We are pleased to support an effort that promises to sustain and strengthen local newspapers in Georgia.”

“The dismantling of local news disparately impacts marginalized communities,” said Marguerite Casey Foundation President and CEO Dr. Carmen Rojas. “We look forward to supporting the Georgia Trust as it uplifts the issues impacting Georgians and builds stronger community newspapers.”

In addition to investing in its inaugural portfolio of newspapers, the Georgia Trust will launch a local news source in Macon, Georgia in 2024. Anchored by support from the Knight Foundation, this effort will leverage a partnership with Mercer University’s Reg Murphy Center for Collaborative Journalism.