Mission & Values

NowKalamazoo is a nonprofit community news service and a public resource for all who live, work and play in Kalamazoo County. We produce high-quality journalism that serves the public good, and we assist citizens in accessing civic information. Our mission is to empower our readers with the information they need to make informed decisions, hold those in power accountable, and create positive change in our community.

We believe that a free and independent press is essential to a healthy democracy, and we are committed to providing high-quality journalism that serves the public good.

Intentional Inclusion: The history of news media, in Kalamazoo and across the country, is unfortunately rife with issues of inequity and a lack of inclusiveness, of bias and a lack of representation. NowKalamazoo’s mission is also to rectify this by helping all Kalamazooans co-author a shared story of lived experience and progress. We approach internal hiring and contracting as well as story, source, and subject selection with a goal of maximum inclusion and zero tolerance for exclusion, including but not limited to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and other forms of discrimination. This is also our equity lens: the legacy of media organizations are that they maintained if not exacerbated an unequal status quo; everything that NowKalamazoo does contains an effort to right those historic wrongs, including by putting additional effort into seeking out – and welcoming – contractors, stories, sources, and subjects that have been historically or actively discriminated against or marginalized – and helping them tell their stories.

A community has the highest quality of life when it has the information and tools for direct civic engagement, the experiences of all life are reflected and affirmed in the media, and the resources to take part in the cultures of the community are easy to access. 

This is NowKalamazoo, a product of the nonprofit Local Journalism Foundation Inc.: 

  • Original community coverage published in full on our website and distributed in our newsletter and social media. 
  • A local news and events roundup in your inbox each morning. 
  • And the go-to events calendar for all of Kalamazoo.

Who we are

Four months before the pandemic, we published the first edition of our pop-up magazine The Homefront – the culmination of nearly a year reporting and exploring the root causes and solutions to the homelessness crisis in Kalamazoo County, thousands of which were distributed locally. We made a pivot with the shut-down, going fully digital to provide daily updates on the facts about, impacts from, and resources for the pandemic. As funding came in, we welcomed our first managing editor, took on another pressing issue impacting our community with our series Beyond Bullets, and continued to expand our coverage.

Since 2019, we’ve continued to double down on our mission: to empower, unite, and inspire those who live, work, and play in greater Kalamazoo County. With the trust of our audience, donors, sponsors, and grant-makers, we are creating the newsroom of the future: an honest look at our past, a facts-first approach to our present, and an optimistic look forward; a multimedia, multiplatform delivery to our audience wherever they are at; scaling inward, telling the stories of everyone in the communities that make up Kalamazoo County.

The deck may seem stacked against a well-informed public, and the trustworthy free press on which it depends. There are still great local media organizations in our community as well as those who are not local but cover our community – we share their best work with you in our daily newsletter and we hope you support them as you see fit too. 

NowKalamazoo is funded by donations, sponsorships, and grants, which supports our high-quality journalism for Kalamazoo. NowKalamazoo is a product of the Local Journalism Foundation Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity. 

Transparency is Important

NowKalamazoo is trusted and independent. We are a non-partisan news organization. We do not produce editorials or support any candidate or party, and we do not accept sponsorship or underwriting from political parties, candidates, campaigns, or affiliated entities such as political action committees, etc. We do not permit sponsor’s messages to include falsehoods, mis-information or dis-information. Lastly, we do not sell any of our readers’ or sponsors’ information.

Commitment to Independence

NowKalamazoo is and always will remain fully independent. NowKalamazoo is dedicated to reporting and analysis that is thoroughly vetted and fair-minded, enabling readers to understand the crucial stories of our community and make their own decisions and opinions. We view our independence as an integral piece of the value we bring to our readers and the Kalamazoo community. Our roots, our editorial focus, and our business decisions are truly local. We are not owned or influenced by anyone or any other decision-makers either here in town or in a headquarters in another state.

Some of our sponsors, donors, and grant-makers may also be subjects of our reporting. Consistent with journalistic best practices, NowKalamazoo maintains a strict firewall that removes business considerations from editorial decision-making, including preventing editors and reporters from working on a story. This is the reality of journalism and an example of the measures we take to earn your trust. When we are choosing which stories to report and how to produce them, our readers always come first.
NowKalamazoo was founded by Ben Lando, a fourth generation Kalamazooan, who began his career in journalism in 2000 covering Kalamazoo city and county governments and other community stories for local radio stations and newspapers. From 2006-2009 he was based in Washington, D.C., as a reporter and editor for United Press International covering U.S. and global energy, political, and security stories. In 2009, he moved to Baghdad, Iraq, where he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Time, and other news outlets. While there, he founded www.iraqoilreport.com, which remains the premier outlet covering economic, security, and political developments in the country. He returned to Kalamazoo in 2013 to start his family.

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