What information would help your community thrive? And what kinds of stories do you want to see told?

More than 40 Hoosiers gathered to talk about these questions at the Indiana Local News Initiative’s inaugural listening sessions this month. Over two sessions, we heard from longtime Indianapolis residents who said they’re desperate for trustworthy information about their neighborhoods. We heard from newer neighbors who want to know more about local events and other opportunities. And we heard that many people want stories that connect the dots between community challenges and solutions.

The events, hosted by Community Journalism Director Ariana Beedie, are one of the ways we’re amping up as we prepare to launch our 25-person news organization in Central Indiana later this year.

Listening session attendees shared their thoughts on the state of local news. (Photo courtesy of Wildstyle Paschall)

We’re excited to introduce the newest member of our team, Ebony Chappel!

Ebony Chappel (Photo courtesy of Simone Walls for Xival Photography)

We’re also growing our team, bringing on Ebony Chappel as market director after a hiring process that included input from a panel of Indianapolis residents. Ebony is an accomplished non-profit leader and award-winning multimedia journalist with years of experience in strategic communication and grassroots community work.

In her previous role as program and communications director at Leadership Indianapolis, Ebony led the organization’s rebrand, developed new programs, and expanded LI’s reach into grassroots communities. Previously, Ebony led statewide outreach efforts for Indiana Donor Network and served as editor of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine. In 2022, she was named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40.

In her new role, Ebony will lead efforts to raise awareness of the initiative's work through events, partnerships, and other activities.

"What we’re doing with ILNI has been a dream mission of mine for many years. I cannot wait to impact local journalism and better serve our community through these efforts," Ebony said.

The initiative has posted a request for proposals to name and brand our Central Indiana newsroom

We are currently seeking responses from firms interested in guiding us through this process. Submissions will be accepted now through Aug 3, 2023. For more information, reach out to Ebony at ebony.chappel@localnewsforindiana.org

We’re also excited to welcome our latest partners Butler University and DePauw University!

There’s lots more happening too, and more and more ways for you to get involved:

  • Community Journalism Director Ari Beedie is hosting August community office hours at different locations around the city to connect with neighbors. She’ll be at Cleo’s Bodega on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Central Library on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit, bring a neighbor and let’s connect around local news, a cool project you’re working on, or whatever else is on your mind!
  • We’re launching the Indy Documenters program. This "civic side hustle" trains and pays neighbors to take notes or live tweet local government meetings. We are hosting our first Documenters orientation in August and will keep you updated on the date and location. If you’re interested, please fill out this Indy Documenters Interest Form, and share it with a neighbor.
  • Don’t forget to follow Indiana Local News Initiative on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
A listening session attendee places a sticker to show what kinds of information and news they want about the upcoming election. (Photo courtesy of Wildstyle Paschall)