The Fresno Bee is teaming up with local nonprofit Fresnoland Media to create a journalism initiative called the Fresnoland Lab. The lab will be free to access and focus on local issues in the San Joaquin Valley, such as water, land use, housing and neighborhood opportunity.
A special section in the Fresno Bee will feature work from the lab, while its work will also be available through open-source information, a weekly newsletter and public events, all produced by the lab. Eight public newsroom events will take place in the lab’s first year and will be held at community centers and libraries with Spanish/Hmong translation and childcare on hand.
The project will hire four dedicated journalists to handle reporting, writing and editing, including Danielle Bergstrom, policy and engagement editor. Bergstrom, who founded Fresnoland Media, joins the lab with a background as an urban planner and over a dozen years experience working in local government and philanthropy.
The Fresnoland Lab will also connect more deeply with the community by training 20 to 30 citizen journalists — in collaboration with the larger news organization — who will report on public and community meetings, creating an open-source archive for the public and other reporting projects.
Bergstrom stated: "Our goal is to help explain complicated policies and programs in our community that impact the lives of residents in the Fresno area. We know the San Joaquin Valley is ground zero for what the country could look like in 20 years and these stories offer a preview to the challenges that many American regions may face."The Fresnoland Lab is made possible with the financial support of The James Irvine Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.