News414 team members pose with Ricardo Galaviz (center, in purple shirt), associate director of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, during a visit to the center on Feb. 9, 2023. News414 is a collaboration between Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS) and Wisconsin Watch that serves Milwaukee’s central city. From left to right behind Galaviz are: News414/Noticias414 Ambassador Vanessa Vasquez, News414/Noticias414 Ambassador Mariela Fonseca Ruiz, NNS Reporter Sam Woods, NNS Photographer Sue Vliet, News414 Project Manager Bevin Christie, Spanish Translator and Engagement Assistant Dilpreet Saraina; Wisconsin Watch Deputy Managing Editor Jim Malewitz, Wisconsin Watch Audience Director Kiran Saini, NNS Reporter PrincessSafiya Byers.
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On this 414 Day in Milwaukee, we have an update about News414. 

For those unfamiliar, News414 is a collaboration in which we share information and respond to questions and perspectives in whatever way is easiest for Milwaukee residents — whether through email, social media, phone calls, in person or texting. 

Texting creates two-way conversations with residents on issues ranging from food security, housing, employment, civil rights and public health — allowing us to share information you’ve asked for. Those conversations also power our journalism, helping Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Wisconsin Watch understand what information and accountability Milwaukee residents want and need. 

About 1,300 people subscribe to our English-language service. More than 100 subscribe to our Spanish-language service. 

Here’s what’s new: We just upgraded our texting technology. 

We’re now working with a company called Subtext, which has helped many newsrooms connect with residents through texting. On our end, the switch makes texting a little smoother and easier to monitor. On your end, not much should change — other than the number where you can reach us. 

We can no longer respond to texts to our old number (73224). Previous subscribers will receive  a text alerting them of the change. 

To sign up for the texting service, click here or enter your cell number in the sign up box below. An automated text from a 414 number will welcome you to News414 and instruct you on how to finish signing up. Please save that number in your phone and text us there if you ever want to connect with a reporter.

Or you can sign up by texting the letters MKE to the number 414-409-5831. You will automatically get a welcome message from a 414 number. Save that number in your phone for future texting. 

How Milwaukeeans inspire our journalism

Three years into News414, we’ve learned so much from what Milwaukeeans have shared through News414. They’ve helped us better understand community needs around food access, housing, public health, transportation and more. They’ve inspired dozens of stories, ranging from resource lists to investigations. 

Those include an examination of a Milwaukee Area Technical College’s attempts to better serve local Black and Latino students. Separately, we documented tenants’ long waits for rental assistance, and one story examined how the state was giving undocumented immigrant renters mixed signals about whether they qualified for aid.

News414 chats inspired our 2021 story about residents who struggled to navigate a confusing federal funeral assistance program after loved ones died of COVID-19. One resident received compensation for her father’s funeral shortly after we published details about her long wait. 

Also in 2021, News414 connected a Milwaukee landlord with information about her tenant’s rental assistance application, helping to prevent an eviction

Last summer, we investigated Milwaukee’s lack of investment in cooling aid after several residents asked where to find affordable air conditioners. We learned that about 36,500 Milwaukeeans lack air conditioning and government agencies and nonprofits offer little help. But we also learned that Eras Senior Network, serving older adults of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, is trying to fix that for older Milwaukeeans.  

Residents alerted us early to a baby formula shortage that began in early 2022 and is still not completely over. That helped us learn that market consolidation and contracting practices left Wisconsin and other states vulnerable to a shortage.

The list goes on, and it will keep getting longer the more we hear from residents. So please keep asking questions and letting us know what our journalism — and our communities —  should look like. 

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Jim Malewitz / Wisconsin WatchDeputy Managing Editor

Jim Malewitz joined the Center in 2019 as investigations editor. His role includes editing, managing fellows and interns, facilitating cross-newsroom collaborations and investigative reporting. Jim has worked almost exclusively in nonprofit, public affairs journalism. He most recently reported on the environment for Bridge Magazine in his home state of Michigan, following four years as an energy and investigative reporter for the Texas Tribune. Jim previously covered energy and the environment for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, POLITICO Magazine and newspapers across the country. Jim majored in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. There, he was a founding staff member of the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, where he serves on the board of directors.