Venetoulis Institute, Baltimore Banner build newsroom with diverse, veteran journalists and deep knowledge of region

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The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization focused on delivering high-quality local journalism to the Baltimore metro, announced its first wave of newsroom hires at The Baltimore Banner. The diverse group of veteran journalists have deep ties to the region and collectively bring decades of reporting experience on vital issues in Baltimore, including health, crime and justice, education, and arts and culture.

Andrea K. McDaniels will serve as managing editor and play a key leadership role helping to shape the Banner's newsroom and media coverage. Lawrence Burney, founder and editor of True Laurels, a media platform highlighting music and culture in Baltimore and the DMV, will be the arts and culture editor and work to feature Baltimore's creative writers and artists. Three veteran Baltimore Sun reporters, Justin Fenton, Liz Bowie and Tim Prudente, will also join the newsroom.

"We are thrilled to welcome these experienced, award-winning journalists to the Banner," said editor in chief Kimi Yoshino. "They each bring a unique set of skills and knowledge, but all share the same commitment to telling the most important stories in Baltimore. I'm excited by the caliber of journalists we're hiring and confident that we will build a newsroom that represents our communities and provides essential and compelling coverage."

McDaniels is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter covering a wide range of issues including local politics, business and health. Her health reporting at The Baltimore Sun, where she worked for two decades, won national awards. Most recently she served on the newspaper's editorial board, helping to shape the publication's stance on key issues facing readers. The Virginia native also worked at The Charlotte Observer.

"This is an exciting opportunity for me to play a major leadership role in creating a nonprofit model to sustain local journalism and providing a platform that will make sure that every voice in the community is heard and represented," said McDaniels. "I look forward to helping build a diverse newsroom that gives communities the strong, local news coverage they want and deserve."

Lawrence Burney's reporting has been featured in The Washington Post, Vice and Complex. He's currently an artist-in-residence at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Burney's storytelling has traditionally focused on finding — and sharing — the intersections of history, culture and contemporary art in Black communities in his hometown.

"Since I started my career in journalism, I've always dreamt of working with a publication like The Baltimore Banner that's willing to take the necessary risks to empower a truly diverse range of people within the city to tell the stories they know deserve to be told with proper sensitivity and insight," Burney said.

Justin Fenton, who has spent the last 16 years covering criminal justice issues at The Baltimore Sun, will be an investigative reporter. He was part of a Pulitzer-finalist team, a two-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, and has won countless local awards and recognition. His book, "We Own This City," about the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal, was published last year by Random House and adapted into an HBO miniseries expected to premiere this spring. Fenton is a lifelong Maryland resident and currently lives in Baltimore.

"I'm excited to be part of building a new approach to local journalism in Baltimore. The stories here need to be told, and I'm hoping talented journalists will join me at The Baltimore Banner and help us tell those stories in new ways," Fenton said.

Liz Bowie also joins the Banner from The Sun where she has spent more than two decades covering city, county and statewide education issues. Bowie will continue to cover education issues at the Banner. A Baltimore native, she was part of a team of Sun reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting in 2020.

Bowie said, "I am so excited to be part of the launch of a nonprofit news source that will put the reader and our community at the center of its mission. I hope we can create a national model for sustaining local journalism that is so desperately needed across the country."

Tim Prudente will become an enterprise reporter for the Banner. He has worked six years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covering everything from city schools to state courts. Prudente has won top regional awards for his feature stories and was named a finalist for the national Livingston Award for Young Journalists. He was born in Baltimore.

Prudente noted, "Baltimore needs all the journalists it can get, and I'm eager to join a nonprofit that's committed to local news and telling the stories of our Charm City."

The Venetoulis Institute is currently hiring for several business and newsroom positions in Baltimore. To learn more about open positions, visit venetoulisinstitute.org.

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