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June 26, 2024

Georgia Trust For Local News launches The Macon Melody, a community newspaper for and from Bibb County

Today the Georgia Trust for Local News is launching The Macon Melody, a community newspaper for and from Bibb County. The Macon Melody is the vibrant, helpful, and relevant newspaper that Macon deserves, with more-than-daily coverage on MaconMelody.com and a beautiful weekly print edition arriving on Friday. 

If it’s happening in Macon, you can read about it in the Melody. “We’re covering all aspects of life in Bibb County,” said Executive Editor Caleb Slinkard. “We will celebrate the good things that happen here, elevate solutions to community problems, and shine a light on the issues that readers tell us matter.” Slinkard, a longtime Macon journalist and editor, leads a newsroom of seven journalists based in Macon.

The Melody features everything from an arts & culture calendar to in-depth investigative reporting. Readers will find a wide range of stories on health, arts, small business, and local government, as well as coverage of the outdoors and sports from Little League to high school football. Esteemed journalist and Maconite Ed Grisamore pens a news column with stories from the community and an opinion column detailing his travels around Middle Georgia. To bring all of this reporting to life, the Melody features the photojournalism of staff photographer Jason Vorhees, an award-winning photojournalist who started his career at The Daily Sun in Warner Robins. There will even be a news clerk at the front desk of our newsroom on Montpellier Avenue in Mercer Village, ready to take phone calls and questions. In total, the Melody is creating 12 new jobs in Macon.

In addition to our digital news site, our weekly print edition will be available at businesses across Macon or delivered straight to mailboxes anywhere in Bibb County. The first print edition rolled off the Georgia Trust’s printing press in Perry earlier this week and will arrive in Macon on Friday. In our first month of operations, about 20,000 copies will be distributed across seven zip codes. Readers can also subscribe to our weekly email newsletter for the most essential news and updates, along with local recommendations and contributors. Our journalism meets Maconites wherever they are.

 

The Macon Melody is part of the Georgia Trust for Local News. The Georgia Trust owns 19 newspapers across Georgia, serving one in ten Georgians from Albany to Dublin to Macon. GTLN is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Local News, the nation’s largest non-profit newspaper company. 

“Protecting and strengthening the unique assets of community newspapers is what we do,” said Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of the National Trust for Local News. “But too many communities have already lost those assets altogether. In Macon, we are harnessing our Georgia team and platform to serve a community that already lost its local news. This is a breakthrough combination of the newest and oldest ideas in the news business.” 

Anchored by support from the Knight Foundation, The Macon Melody is using philanthropic funding to launch its work. Readers, advertisers, and community partners will sustain it. 

“It’s expensive and challenging to start a local newsroom,” said Georgia Trust Executive Director DuBose Porter. “Launching a 19th local newspaper is a lot easier, faster, and more economical. The Georgia Trust is what makes The Macon Melody possible. With that infrastructure, talent, and community network already in place, we’ve been able to build a fantastic community newspaper from scratch in just seven months. We are eager and honored to help Macon tell its stories.”

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December 16, 2023

Georgia Trust For Local News launches to conserve and strengthen community news in Middle and South Georgia

National Trust for Local News subsidiary will sustain community newspapers in Georgia with support from Knight, Woodruff, and Casey foundations 

The non-profit 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. Georgia Trust titles will include iconic publications with deep roots in the communities they serve, like 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,” says 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,” says Caleb Slinkard, executive editor of the Georgia Trust for Local News. “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. 

 

According to research published by Northwestern University earlier this month, an estimated 45 million Americans are at risk of losing their local newspaper. More than half of them live in the southeastern United States. Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 21 do not have a local news source, while 116 counties only have one.

 

“When local newspapers disappear, communities fracture and mistrust thrives,” says Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of the National Trust for Local News. “The National Trust for Local News protects community newspapers because they build more connected communities, support local economies, and strengthen our democracy. The Georgia Trust for Local News will light a sustainable path forward for community newspapers across the state.” 


 

About Georgia Trust for Local News

The Georgia Trust for Local News (GTLN) is dedicated to strengthening community newspapers across Georgia, fostering local engagement and building stronger, more connected communities. The Georgia Trust for Local News is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Local News (NTLN), a non-profit committed to conserving, transforming and sustaining vibrant, sustainable community news enterprises across the country.

 

GTLN’s  newspapers are: The Courier Herald (Dublin, Laurens County); The Albany Herald (Albany, Dougherty County); The Johnson Journal (Wrightsville, Johnson County); The Soperton News (Soperton, Treutlen County); The Montgomery Monitor (Mt. Vernon, Montgomery County); The Wheeler County Eagle (Alamo, Wheeler County); The Wilkinson County Post (Irwinton, Wilkinson County); The Twiggs Times New Era (Jeffersonville, Twiggs County); The Cochran Journal (Cochran, Bleckley County); The Sandersville Progress (Sandersville, Washington County); The Houston Home Journal (Perry, Houston County); The Leader Tribune (Fort Valley, Peach County); The Sparta Ishmaelite (Sparta, Hancock County); The News Observer (Vienna, Dooly County); The Citizen Georgian (Montezuma, Macon County); The Star-Mercury Vindicator (Manchester, Meriwether County); The Harris County Journal (Hamilton, Harris County); The Talbotton New Era (Talbotton, Talbot County).

 

About National Trust For Local News

The National Trust for Local News (NTLN)  owns and operates sustainable news enterprises that are deeply embedded in the communities they serve. The National Trust combines scaled national business operations with deep local partnerships, ensuring that the news outlets we own are intimately connected with the communities they serve. NTLN  believes in the power of local news to foster community engagement, enhance understanding, and strengthen the connections between people and the places they live.

 

Community newspapers elevate the quality of life in communities while boosting local economies. The National Trust and its subsidiaries have conserved and operate 64 community news outlets in three states, serving 5.8 million Americans and employing more than 500 people, including nearly 250 local journalists. The local news produced by National Trust-owned outlets was viewed nearly ten million times in just the last 30 days. 


Visit ntln.org to learn more about our work.

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