Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce launches independent, free, nonprofit digital news organization
For immediate release
Sept. 12, 2023
“The Worcester Guardian will deliver free civically oriented journalism on an array of topics important to Worcester and the Central Massachusetts region,” said Timothy P. Murray, the chamber’s president and CEO.
This announcement coincides with the public release of a white paper prepared for the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in July titled, “Central Massachusetts: A story to be told – a new model for Worcester in delivering civic information and local news to Central Massachusetts residents.”
The white paper details the growing national trend of communities establishing non-profit news organizations. Successful nonprofit news organizations in New England include VTDigger in Vermont, the New Hampshire Bulletin and the New Bedford Light. In Maine, the nonprofit National Trust for Local News recently purchased five daily and 17 weekly newspapers.
The Worcester Guardian has applied for membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News, which has over 425 affiliates nationwide, including 38 in Massachusetts.
Readers will be able to access stories free of charge through the Worcester Guardian’s website, social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) – as well as free email newsletters.
“As is the case in other communities this will take time to scale and will require resources and support from the business community, various institutions and nonprofits, as well as everyday readers,” Murray said. “It will be work, but I am confident the community will respond and support this important initiative that will seek to tell our collective story locally, statewide and across the country on a daily basis.”
Since 2000, more than 2,200 newspapers across the country have closed, including over 360 alone since just before the start of the pandemic, according to the New York Times. In Worcester, the Telegram & Gazette has seen steady cutbacks under corporate ownership since being sold by the Stoddard, Fletcher and Booth families in 1986.
“The decline of local news both here in Central Massachusetts and across the country is unhealthy to our civic well-being,” said Christine Cassidy, the chamber’s board chair. “Consistent with the chamber’s role over its nearly 150-year history and our mission in seeking to better our region, the chamber will lead the facilitation over the next 18 to 24 months in establishing an independent and sustainable nonprofit news organization.”
This will include establishing an independent board of directors and a community advisory board for the new 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
To ensure the Worcester Guardian follows proper journalistic guidelines from the outset, former Telegram & Gazette executive editor David Nordman will serve as a consultant to the new nonprofit news organization.
“I am excited to assist with this important initiative,” Nordman said. “Free, nonprofit, independent news provides a dynamic new platform to tell the Central Massachusetts story and report on important issues impacting Worcester and the region.”
X (formerly Twitter):