Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jimmy Gutierrez, engagement manager for News414, a three-newsroom service journalism collaboration including Wisconsin Watch, has been named a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow. 

JSK Journalism Fellows announced Tuesday that Gutierrez is among 11 journalists, technologists and community leaders to receive the Stanford University fellowship, which runs from Sept. 14, 2020 to May 14, 2021. 

As a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow, Jimmy Gutierrez, News414 engagement manager, will focus on engaging with Black and brown residents on Milwaukee’s north and south sides.

Gutierrez and his cohort will work remotely on a range of projects to close information gaps affecting people of color — deficiencies that have been exposed and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The fellows will document their work throughout the year, highlighting key strategies and lessons learned. 

Gutierrez will receive funding, strategic advising and remote access to Stanford’s world-class resources as he continues his work on News414, a partnership between Wisconsin Watch, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Detroit-based Outlier Media. The project uses innovative technology and techniques — including surveys and text messaging — to identify, report and deliver reliable information to Milwaukee residents who are underserved by traditional media. 

“Our new fellows bring deep community experience and empathy to their work,” said JSK Director Dawn Garcia. “Their news and information experiments will help provide essential information to people who are too often overlooked and underserved. This work will change the narrative for thousands of people in our cities and towns.”

In his fellowship, Gutierrez will focus on engaging with Black and brown residents on Milwaukee’s north and south sides.

“We are filled with gratitude for the Knight fellowship support as Jimmy continues his groundbreaking work with the News414 project,“ said Andy Hall, executive director of Wisconsin Watch. “Together, we will provide more residents with essential information and help improve the quality of life in Milwaukee.”

Hall noted that any effective strategies will be freely shared with other communities.

Gutierrez, who joined News414 in March, grew up on the south side of Milwaukee and spent 2013-2015 as a Milwaukee firefighter, where he also led a multimedia campaign to improve firefighter health and wellness. Gutierrez then spent four years at New Hampshire Public Radio, where he launched, co-hosted and produced The Second Greatest Show on Earth, which provided a platform for listener questions and engagement.

The newsrooms launched News414 nearly a year after Milwaukee County and the city declared racism a public health crisis and as the coronavirus began spreading nationwide, disproportionately infecting and killing people of color, including in Milwaukee. News414 is supported by the Google News Initiative and the three participating news organizations

The project is currently focused on six key topics: food security, housing, health and safety, jobs and money; mental health and domestic violence and civil rights and community advocacy — areas with longstanding information gaps, particularly in Black and brown communities in Milwaukee, which multiple reports say is the nation’s most segregated major metropolitan area. 

News414 has more than 1,100 text subscribers and has engaged thousands more residents through social media and online news stories about topics ranging from policing in Milwaukee to the city’s escalating evictions crisis

Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman has also been named a fellow. She will build a federated business model for publications in Detroit that serve low-wealth Black and brown communities.

More than 1,000 people from over 80 countries have participated in journalism fellowships at Stanford since the program first began in 1966.

The other JSK fellows for 2020-2021 are: 

  • Rachel Dissell, Cleveland-based independent journalist.
  • Maritza L. Félix, independent journalist, Conecta Arizona.
  • Nicole Foy, investigative reporter, Idaho Statesman.
  • Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor in chief, Southerly.
  • Brittany Harley, community engagement reporter, WBGO.
  • Gregory Johnson, founder and director, Code for South Florida.
  • Rashad Mahmood co-director, New Mexico Local News Fund.
  • Kate Maxwell co-founder and publisher, The Mendocino Voice.
  • Aparna Mukherjee co-creator, Sense LA.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Watch editorial and business staff.