For the people.
With the people.
Our nonprofit journalism amplifies voices in disinvested Dallas neighborhoods and explores solutions to our city’s systemic inequities.
Award-winning journalist Keri Mitchell, who spent 15 years dedicated to community and civic journalism at Dallas’ Advocate magazines, launched Dallas Free Press in early 2020 with the belief that all neighborhoods deserve reporting and storytelling that values their community and holds leaders accountable.
Dallas Free Press was named 2021’s “New Publisher of the Year” by Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers for “being truly rooted in community and public service … starting from a place of community listening, meeting real information needs, and centering equity.” We focus community journalism efforts in South Dallas and West Dallas, two of our city’s historically redlined neighborhoods, and that work informs collaborative projects to tackle complex civic issues with solutions journalism.
Traditional news business models prevent this, however. The problem with an advertising-based model is that reporting and storytelling are limited to communities where advertisers want to spend money to reach the wealthiest residents of the city. Subscription models face a similar dilemma; content is catered to people willing to pay for subscriptions.
A nonprofit model allows for a return to journalism for its intended purpose — public service. The focus of Dallas Free Press is to focus community journalism efforts in Dallas “news deserts,” starting with South Dallas and West Dallas, and also to build a local journalism collaborative to tackle complex civic issues.
- What’s a “news desert”? View the definition alongside Dallas delivery maps.
- What kind of content do we publish? Are we looking for staff and freelancers? Find out how we define and produce our journalism.
Editorial Independence Policy
Diverse Voices Policy
Diverse Staffing Report
Racial Equity Policy
Reporting Methods and Story References
Unnamed Sources Policy
About ‘The Trust Project’
Keri Mitchell has spent 20+ years as a community journalist, including 15 years dedicated to community and civic journalism at Dallas’ Advocate magazines. She launched Dallas Free Press in early 2020 with the belief that all neighborhoods deserve reporting and storytelling that values their community and holds leaders accountable.
Mitchell says she is energized by “knowing our work is making an impact — listening to people, telling their stories with strong narratives paired with compelling data that leads to change. I also love spending time in our neighborhoods and with our neighbors, learning from them and working to determine how journalism can be part of the solution to their challenges.”
Mitchell is proud to be the winner of multiple awards during her journalism career including: Finalist in Magazine Feature Reporting (2018) and Finalist in Magazine Investigative Reporting (2017) from Hugh Aynesworth Excellence in Journalism, Best Feature Story (2011) from Texas Community Newspaper Association and Best Magazine Feature (2011) from Dallas Bar Association Philbin Awards.
Sujata Dand is an award-winning journalist who is energized by change brought in communities in response to news stories. She lives in and has spent most of her reporting career in Dallas, with ample experience covering health care, education and public policy.
“I think it’s important to elevate voices that are often ignored,” Dand says. “For me, that means meeting the people in our communities. We need to see people and listen to them. It’s often a huge act of courage for people to openly share their lives. So, I feel an enormous responsibility in making sure my stories are authentic and fair.”
Dand worked at KERA for almost 10 years, where she produced several television documentaries, including “Life in the Balance: The Health Care Crisis in Texas” and “High School: The Best and the Rest.” She also headed the multimedia project “Boyfriends,” which examined the complex personal and cultural factors that contribute to the way adolescent girls form and maintain relationships. Her work has garnered several local Emmys and national awards including a Gracie for best reality program.
Prior to her work with KERA, Sujata was a reporter and anchor at the CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Texas. She has worked as a freelance reporter for NPR and Dallas Morning News. Dand is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio.
Jeffrey Ruiz is a Dallas native who focuses on government accountability in his South Dallas and West Dallas reporting as a Report for America corps member. His journalist expertise lies in covering immigrants, the transgender community, the Latino community, poverty and the unhoused. He also enjoys diving into religion and its influence in the community.
When asked why Ruiz chose to write for Dallas Free Press, he says, “Being a part of a local newsroom that serves the community in any way possible with the readers’ best interest in mind is where I always dreamed of being a journalist. I look forward to the day I start writing news stories in Spanish to be translated into English.”
When Ruiz needs a break, you can find him enjoying lunch at his favorite go-to spots: La Tacotrona and Locura Small Bites.
Sona Chaudhary is a Dallas-based geologist, writer and journalist working on environmental justice issues in Dallas and throughout the Southwest United States.
“I want to be involved in Dallas, and I want to help make it better,” Chaudhary says. “I think Dallas Free Press is the greatest learning opportunity there could be, amplifying the voices of people involved in some radical, empathetic and transformative work on the local level.”
In addition to writing for environmental change, Chaudhary is a physical scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. They are a Cancer Sun, Aries Moon fueled by chai tea.
Dallas Free Press is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, EIN 20-5245262 (legal name Advocate Foundation Inc., dba Dallas Free Press). View our Guidestar profile.
Prior to 2020, what is now Dallas Free Press was Advocate magazines’ charitable arm, Advocate Foundation Inc, which was founded in 2007 to provide small grants to neighborhood businesses and schools. The Great Recession of 2008 and the simultaneous internet revolution rendered the foundation dormant by 2015, so Advocate founder Rick Wamre handed the reins over to Keri Mitchell, who revamped it as a standalone news nonprofit.
In 2020 we filed a legal DBA certificate for Dallas Free Press and changed the function of the nonprofit to produce journalism rather than distribute grants. Advocate Media has since switched from a for-profit to a non-profit newsroom as well. The two nonprofit newsrooms still are mutual advisors on community and civic journalism projects, but are no longer connected in terms of finances or business practices.
Dallas Free Press’ collaborative partners include:
• Dallas Weekly, a trusted news source for the city’s African-American audiences with a legacy that reaches back into the Civil Rights Era. Our two newsrooms share and collaborate on content that addresses issues where our two audiences overlap, and we also join forces on community events.
• The six newsrooms and three journalism schools in the Dallas Media Collaborative, primarily focused on affordable housing. Reporters and editors from partner newsrooms share and collaborate on content, using the four pillars identified by the Solutions Journalism Network, to tackle complex civic issues together for the good of Dallas.
• City Bureau, a groundbreaking local newsroom birthed in Chicago’s South Side, who leads us and eight other local newsrooms in the Documenters Network in the work to train and pay Dallas residents to attend and take notes at local public meetings. Dallas Free Press joined the network in early 2023 to involve Dallas residents directly in the public processes that impact their daily lives, and to build a robust public record that holds people in power accountable.
Are you interested in becoming a Dallas Free Press organization, communication, civic or space partner? Please reach out to Gloria Ardilla, email@example.com.
South Dallas and West Dallas residents are a frontline witness to life in our neighborhoods — local governance, public safety, schools, housing, social movements, culture — and our neighbors’ insights shape our news agenda. We invite your comments and complaints on news stories, suggestions for issues to cover or sources to consult, and your participation in both the Public Newsroom events we host for you and the community meetings and gatherings we attend along with you. We believe that journalism is a public good that should directly involve the people it serves.
As a newsroom committed to delivering quality news to our West Dallas and South Dallas communities, we invite feedback in any form — corrections, praise or general thoughts. Our neighbors and readers are welcome to contact us here.
Our team engages with our neighbors on a daily basis, both in-person and digitally. We also host regular Public Newsroom gatherings and make the rounds to neighborhood events with our Pop-Up Newsroom.
Here are ways to engage with us:
South Dallas Office
Neighbors on Our Team
Newsletters in Your Inbox
Editorial Independence Policy
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).
Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.
As a nonprofit news organization, Dallas Free Press is strictly nonpartisan, but we aren’t completely objective. We are unabashedly biased toward the two neighborhoods we cover — South Dallas and West Dallas — and the voices of the people who live in them.
Our editorial strategy centers around our bias and our commitment to community, civic, solutions and movement journalism:
We spend a lot of time in our neighborhoods, listening to residents and asking them how journalism can do better. Here is a snapshot of what we learned from our neighbors in 2021.
Through our ongoing listening process, we’ve created priority issues and topics of most importance to South Dallas and West Dallas neighbors, which drive our editorial decisions and our content choices:
- Community assets: Too many stories told about South Dallas and West Dallas focus on crime and blight. We’re not going to sugarcoat the problems, but we want to highlight the good news that doesn’t receive enough coverage.
- Follow-ups: What our neighbors appreciate most from us is not just the big announcements but paying attention to what happens next — whether promises made were kept, whether big initiatives that launched made any difference, whether the people a program intended to help actually benefited.
- Civic explainers: We know you’re tired of the he-said, she-said political stories. We are, too. We subscribe to the citizen’s agenda, and we’ll create content to answer questions such as: What’s the rezoning process, and how can I make my voice heard before a decision is made? How do I obtain the title to my property so I can apply for home repair funds or tax discounts?
- In-depth civic projects: It takes time to dig deep into problems and unearth solutions. Our community journalism will inform the topics we choose to tackle, and we’ll work with experienced journalists and collaborative partners to tell these stories well and widely.
- Neighborhood events and resource maps: Where can I enroll my child in an after-school program or pick up a free bag of fresh produce? What’s happening in my neighborhood this month? We curate neighborhood event calendars and resource maps that we also share via our social media and text messaging platforms.
Diverse Voices Policy
Dallas Free Press is a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news site and community newsroom dedicated to accurate, fair and complete reporting on Dallas neighborhoods that media historically have overlooked and ignored. Our community-based, civic-focused and solutions-oriented journalism centers and amplifies the voices of residents in disinvested neighborhoods who, because of our city’s racist history, are predominantly Black and Latino.
We follow the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and continually learn from groups such as the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Local Independent Online News Publishers, of which Dallas Free Press is a member, as well as Trusting News, Gather and their members, to assess and refine our editorial practices toward fairness and transparency. We maintain a firewall of editorial independence between news coverage decisions and all sources of revenue.
Diverse Staffing Report
We are committed to employing a diverse staff based on race/ethnicity, gender identity and/or expression, disabilities, languages, and whether they identify as LGBTQIA+.
Our staff, whether full-time, part-time or regular contractors and freelancers, self-identifies as:
- Black: 8 | Hispanic/Latino/Latina: 6 | Indian/Asian American: 2 | Indigenous: 1 | White: 1
- Female: 11 | Male: 6
- Heterosexual: 13 | LGBTQIA+: 4 | Decline to state: 1
- Person without a disability: 17 | With a disability: 1
- Born in country of residence: 16 | Immigrated to country of residence: 2
- Bilingual (English & Spanish): 7 | Bilingual (English & Other): 2
Racial Equity Policy
Dallas Free Press practices racial equity, and makes these acknowledgements and commitments both to our neighbors and to our supporters:
- Dallas Free Press owns up to journalism’s racist history of devaluing BIPOC residents and minimizing their stories, while envisioning an anti-racist future that prioritizes Black and Latino voices from neighborhoods such as South Dallas and West Dallas, and utilizes community-powered journalism to guide reporting and storytelling.
- We will prioritize the words and perspectives of Black and Latino residents in neighborhoods like South Dallas and West Dallas by positioning them as the first voices in Dallas Free Press stories.
- We will add more BIPOC board members and staff to Dallas Free Press’ team as we grow.
- We will recruit BIPOC residents into Dallas news and media processes by equipping 50 Black and Latino residents to become community reporters and storytellers over the next three years.
Dallas Free Press journalists are responsible for fact-checking their stories. Prior to publishing, stories are subject to at least two reviews by senior editors, which includes fact checking. Stories are fact-checked by reaching back out to sources and/or consulting reliable documentation to confirm the information. Data collected from studies requires going back to the original study or research organization to validate the quality of the data.
Prior to publishing our Spanish translations, they are reviewed by fluently bilingual humans familiar with our neighborhoods’ conversational language.
Dallas Free Press is committed to telling our readers when an error has been made, the magnitude of the error and the correct information, as quickly as possible. This commitment and transparency is applicable to small errors as well as large, to short news summaries as well as long features. If audiences cannot trust us to get the small things right, how can they trust us with the big things?
Please report possible errors here or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrections and links to corrected stories are listed here.
Reporting Methods and Story References
For investigations, in-depth or controversial stories, it’s helpful for readers to know information about why our newsroom chose to pursue a story and how our reporters went about the process. These types of stories will include a “transparency sidebar” that addresses the following questions:
• Why are we covering this story?
• Whom and what did we source?
• What don’t we know?
• What now?
Dallas Free Press will use Genius annotations when citing data, public documents, expert bios, research papers and other such content that supports factual information in story-formatted content. Data visualizations, timelines and other such graphic web elements may use a below-graphic reference format to enhance reader experience.
Questions about reporting methods and story references can be asked here or sent to email@example.com.
Unnamed Sources Policy
Reliable sources with direct knowledge of information are key to our reporting. The only time our journalists will cite an unnamed source is when the source is in a vulnerable position — such as an undocumented immigrant or a child younger than 18 — and anonymity is vital to their safety. Journalists must receive approval from senior editors before citing an anonymous source.
- WHAT INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
Personal Information You Disclose to Us
During your visit and use of our Website and services, we collect certain data that you provide to us when you fill out opt-in forms, contact forms and surveys, when you make donations or purchase products and/or services, and when you enter your information for giveaways and/or competitions.
The personal information that you provide to us can be your name, email address, location and occupation. Moreover, if you are making donations and purchasing products, then you are also providing us with payment and address information. (However, your payment information is not stored in our system because purchases are processed through payment processors.) Therefore, should you have any questions about payment activities and/or information, contact the specific payment processor directly.
If you enter your information to receive a freebie, make a purchase, respond to survey, register for a free training, or participate in a webinar, then we will automatically enroll you to receive our newsletter and updates.
If you do not wish to receive any communications from us, you can opt out by clicking on the unsubscribe link located at the bottom of the emails.
If you have trouble unsubscribing to our email newsletters by clicking the link at the bottom of the email, or from our text services by responding “STOP” to our texts, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be unsubscribed from future emails.
Information Collected Through Third-Party Sources
During the time you visit and use our Site, certain limited data are collected from public databases, marketing partners, social media platforms and analytics sources.
The types of data collected about you from other sources are your location, your computer system, which pages you have visited on our Site, how long you spend on each page, your IP address, your country, and possibly even your social media profiles and referrals.
- CHILDREN’S PRIVACY AND DATA
This Website is not intended for children under the age of 13. We and this Website do not knowingly and intentionally collect any personally identifiable information from children under the age of 13. If you are under 13 years of age, please do not use or provide any information on this Website. Do not use any third parties that might have links present on this Website. Do not provide your name, address, phone number or any payment information.
If a parent or guardian believes that this Website unknowingly collected personally identifiable information from a child under the age of 13 in its database, please contact us at once at email@example.com, and we will do our best to immediately remove any and all such information from our database.
- HOW DO WE USE THE INFORMATION WE COLLECT FROM YOU?
Information Collected from You
We use the information we collect from you to send you targeted marketing and promotional communications. If at any time you indicated an interest in a particular field related to our Site, then we and/or our third-party marketing partners may use this relevant information to send you additional communication regarding similar products/services.
If you do not want to receive any marketing and/or promotional communication, you can opt out at any time by unsubscribing from either a particular list or topic, or from all the emails coming from us. To unsubscribe from email, click on the “unsubscribe” button located at the bottom of every email you receive. To unsubscribe from texts, send a text stating “STOP” at any time.
Information Collected from Third-Party Apps and Tools
Any information collected from third-party tools is used for statistical and analytical purposes and for evaluating and making improvements to our Site. This automatically collected information will not include personal information data.
- WILL WE SHARE YOUR INFORMATION WITH ANYONE?
We respect your privacy and the value of your information. We do not share, disclose, sell, lease or rent your information to anyone or any third party without your express consent.
Only under limited circumstances will necessary information be shared with third parties. Here are the situations in which we will share your information:
- You gave us express consent to do so;
- You entered into a contract for recurring donations or payments — for this reason, your information will be processed on an as-needed basis to uphold the agreement;
- Performance of a contract — if you are obligated to pay or perform an action, and you fail, we reserve the right to share necessary information with a third-party company, such as a collection agency or an attorney; and
- Mandated by law — if legal proceedings are initiated, and there is a subpoena.
- EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS & POLICIES
If you decide to contact us through email, we reserve the right to retain the content of your email messages, your email address, and our responses.
Your privacy is important to us. Therefore, your email address will never be shared, sold or leased to any third-party members.
In compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, any and all communications sent from our Company or Website will clearly state who the email is from, who the email is for, and how to contact the sender.
Furthermore, should you wish to not receive any more emails, you can click on the “Unsubscribe” link located at the bottom of the email.