Who We Are
The OpenNews team is part of a community of journalists creating a future where we can work in newsrooms that are anti-racist, equitable, inclusive, and collaborative. Learn more about our programs and how you can get involved.
Erika Owens, Executive Director
Erika Owens is Executive Director of OpenNews, where she convenes people and projects across journalism and technology to move the industry forward. Erika and the OpenNews team seek ways to build enduring connections by supporting a thriving network of creating inclusive, caring spaces for the journalism-tech community. Her adroit community work has been instrumental in establishing OpenNews as a leader in how to foster and sustain networks. Erika also serves on the board of the Movement Alliance Project (formerly Media Mobilizing Project) and has trained as a donor organizer through the Giving Project at Bread and Roses Community Fund. Previously, Erika was web editor at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. She is based in Philadelphia and loves nonprofit journalism, people watching, and laughing heartily. (email@example.com)
Ryan Pitts, Director of Network Development
Ryan Pitts is Director of Network Development at OpenNews, where he helps community members develop collaborative, inclusive programs for journalism events, and connects people with resources (and each other!) in ways that make local newsrooms more effective and representative of their communities. (Sometimes he also writes little scrapers and bots that make it easier for us to publish our work.) Previously, he was a local reporter and editor before managing news apps and product development as Senior Editor for Digital Media at The Spokesman-Review. Ryan’s team won ONA, SND, and regional awards for its data journalism and innovative narrative work. He is also a board member, developer, and trainer for Census Reporter, a project that makes census data easier for journalists to use. Ryan is based in Spokane, Wash., where he volunteers with a small-but-growing community-driven newsroom. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our Advisory Board
- Trei Brundrett of Vox Media
- Tiff Fehr of The New York Times
- Candice Fortman of Outlier Media
- Dawn Garcia of the John S. Knight Fellowship
- Aron Pilhofer of Temple University
- Dan Sinker, former director of OpenNews
- Aaron Williams of The Washington Post
Our Former Staff
Team members who shaped OpenNews and have since moved on to other pursuits.
Sisi Wei, Co-Executive Director
Sisi Wei was Co-Executive Director of OpenNews, creating and leading initiatives to make the journalism industry more inclusive and equitable, especially for journalists of color and local journalists. Sisi won the Gwen Ifill Award in 2021, and has won numerous journalism awards for her watchdog, design, and data work. Previously, she was the Assistant Managing Editor at ProPublica, has served as an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities, and is the co-founder of Code with me, a nonprofit workshop that teaches journalists how to code. Sisi is the editor in chief at The Markup.
Dan Sinker, Director
Dan was the director of OpenNews as well as a journalist, entrepreneur, and maker based out of Chicago. He was involved in the OpenNews project since its founding year in 2011, evolving the project into what it is today. Prior to OpenNews, Dan taught digital journalism at Columbia College Chicago, was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and founded and ran the magazine Punk Planet. He is the author of two books, the maintainer of countless side projects, and for a while ran a regular role-playing-game night for 9-year-olds.
Erin Kissane, Editorial Lead
Erin is a writer, editor, and longtime open-web nerd. She joined OpenNews in early 2012 to build Source, a community-driven publication for code in journalism, and oversaw the organization’s content and editorial work. Previously, she was editorial director at award-winning web agency Happy Cog Studios, editor of A List Apart magazine, and a consultant to agencies, publishers, and nonprofits large and small. She is the author of The Elements of Content Strategy and speaks about online community, web publishing, and the open internet at conferences worldwide.
B Cordelia Yu, Program and Communications Coordinator
B Cordelia Yu is a content & editorial strategist and independent researcher at the intersection of social justice, civic tech, public policy, and digital design. They help organizations build inclusive editorial teams and products to foster democratic communities and expanding access to communities of knowledge. Their research is in creating models for open governance and technology-mediated deliberative democratic practices. They joined OpenNews for the second half of 2017.
Lindsay Muscato, Editor for Source
Lindsay is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn who joined OpenNews and Source in 2015. Before that, she spent a decade in Chicago on innovative projects in the arts, youth media, design, and civic tech—producing work on issues such as gun violence, health disparities, and user testing for civic apps. She also spent a year in Cambodia as a leadership resident with the Harpswell Foundation, where she lived and worked alongside Cambodian university students. She’s been a believer in the open web since 1996, when she made her first website after school one day. She’s originally from Buffalo, New York.
OpenNews began as a partnership between the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation in 2011. Learn more about our program’s history.
OpenNews is a nonprofit organization that receives funding from community members who donate, foundations, and sponsors. Learn more about how donations work and who our supporters are. Incubated at the Mozilla Foundation from 2011-2016, OpenNews is now a project of Community Partners.
Everything we do is built around the needs of the sprawling community of people who code (and crunch data, and design interactive tools) in and around newsrooms. Whether you’re an old hand or just curious about the field, there’s a way for you to get involved.
The latest from the OpenNews team
Read all our news in our OpenNews blog