NowKalamazoo is a truly local, independent news outlet for all of Kalamazoo County. Our mission is to produce high quality journalism on behalf of the community – as a watchdog, cheerleader, thought leader, and dialogue facilitator.
NowKalamazoo intends to earn our audience’s trust, not only by being factual, but by being honest about what we see in our reporting and transparent about why we believe it’s important for you to know about it.
Our coverage spans the interests and identities of a culturally, geographically, and experientially diverse community. Our scope includes deep exploration of issues of importance that impact our neighbors, exposing wrongdoing, uplift solutions to problems, and celebrate people and organizations that are progressing the ever-changing cultural and economic landscape.
NowKalamazoo launched out of concern about the negative impacts on our community as legacy news outlets abandon their responsibility, cut their investment, reduce the number of reporters, and contribute to misinformation. Unlike many other news organizations in Kalamazoo, our founder is from the community, coverage decisions are made in this community, and any revenue is kept in our community by investing back into the people who make this journalism possible.
Our first publication was a pop-up magazine in November 2019 called The Homefront: Confronting Kalamazoo’s Homelessness Crisis. We exposed the lack of strategy by community leaders, and the risks that posed to residents and taxpayers. The Michigan Press Association recognized our journalism with four awards for The Homefront, including the fourth best public service journalism – behind only the state’s three biggest newspapers.
In March 2020, we launched nowkalamazoo.com, our email newsletter, and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. With a deadly pandemic about to descend on the community, our focus turned to providing fact-based news, information, and resources in order to help guide our leaders and our neighbors through the adversity and misinformation. NowKalamazoo also covered stories of injustice that plagued our community as it did the entire country.
In October 2021, we relaunched our newsletter, and expanded our coverage to spend more time on crucial issues such as homelessness and injustice, and explore the impact of public policies on Kalamazoo County residents. NowKalamazoo also wants to highlight the people and organizations in the community who are pushing us forward, such as entrepreneurs, restauranteurs and chefs, and culture-makers. Our intention is to connect our community from all corners of our county.
NowKalamazoo independently operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Public Media Network and is a journalism project created by Ben Lando, who serves as Publisher. Ben is a graduate of Loy Norrix High School and Western Michigan University. He began professional journalism in 2000 as a government and general assignment reporter for radio stations and newspapers in the Kalamazoo area. He spent 2006-2009 reporting for UPI in Washington, D.C. He lived in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2009-2013 as a freelance reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The Economist and others, and founded the online news outlet iraqoilreport.com covering Iraq’s oil, politics, and security. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and four kids.
NowKalamazoo Commitment to Independence
NowKalamazoo is and always will remain fully independent. We are self-funded and rely on donations, sponsors, and grants to operate.
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.
To fund this enterprise, NowKalamazoo depends on revenue from sponsors, donors, and grant-makers. Some may also subjects of our reporting. Consistent with journalistic best practices, NowKalamazoo maintains a strict firewall that removes business considerations from editorial decision-making. When we are choosing which stories to report and how to write them, our readers always come first.