Karl Baker is joining the Delaware Local Journalism Initiative as the senior reporter for the new nonprofit newsroom Spotlight Delaware.
The Seattle native joins Spotlight Delaware after working at The News Journal/Delaware Online and later as a freelancer and publisher with a Substack newsletter site, The News Aracde.
While at the News Journal and later as a freelance contributor to the newspaper website, Baker may be best known for chronicling troubles at former Wilmington Port operator Gulftainer and what some saw as the lack of transparency by the Secretary of State’s office, the entity charged with overseeing the port.
“I joined Spotlight because it aims to beef up investigative journalism in Delaware, holding our government accountable to all communities throughout the state,” Baker stated in a release.
Baker has also reported for Bloomberg News and the Seattle Times. Before that, he worked for over a decade in the North Pacific commercial fishing industry, covering an area from California to Alaska. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and a master’s in business journalism from New York University.
Spotlight Delaware, armed with more than $1 million in philanthropic funding, will focus on covering public policy, emphasizing communities with less access to local news and information. The areas include lower-income communities and so-called “news deserts” in fast-growing areas like Middletown. The MOT area lost its weekly newspaper through the merger of News Journal owner Gannett and Gatehouse.
A release stated that Spotlight Delaware is building a newsroom and conducting a listening session series. The venture has received over $1 million in philanthropic funding and hired a membership director to work toward sustainability.
Also, the initiative hired former Delaware Business Times Editor Jacob Owens to head the news side.
The CEO is Allison Taylor Levine, the organization’s founder, who left her post at the Delaware Community Foundation to work full-time at the nonprofit. Taylor Levine also worked at the News Journal.
Spotlight Delaware will offer its content to the state’s news organizations.
Who to contact at the News Journal
Occasionally, I’m asked about contacts at the News Journal/Delaware Online. I never worked at the NJ, but did know some of the folks on the reporting side over the years.
With retirements and turnover, that’s no longer the case. The good news here is that the newspaper website regularly updates its staff box, including a brief description of reporters’ “beats,” as we old guys used to call them.
Things have changed over the years, and the titles now include “Delaware Storyteller, Wilmington Watch Dog Reporter, and Growth and New Business Reporter.
Here’s a link to the staff box.