Kate B. Maxwell
Kate B. Maxwell co-founded The Mendocino Voice, a worker-owned news service, in 2016 as a response to the abrupt gutting of the local legacy newsroom by its corporate hedge fund owners. She’s kept the small start-up going through multiple record wildfire seasons, which sometimes forced her and colleagues to evacuate their homes, and through the pandemic, which presented its own financial challenges for the community and the newsroom.
Through it all, the Voice has grown to be the primary county-wide source of reliable, useful information to residents coping with these crises in their vast, rural Northern California county. It has expanded its bilingual coverage and developed partnerships with local community organizations and public radio.
The pandemic slowed Maxwell’s plans to convert the Voice into a community co-op that would give residents a formal stake in its operation, but she doubled down on her commitment to being a community-first local news outlet. She has sharpened the Voice’s coverage priorities, drawing on the insights she gained through her 2021 JSK Community Impact Fellowship.
Maxwell will use her senior community impact fellowship to develop a business strategy that incorporates the tenets of democratic ownership and supports organizational resilience.
Previously, Maxwell worked as a reporter in Mendocino County in print, online and radio, with her work being published in regional and national outlets. She has also been the co-owner of a co-op bookstore, an archivist, and an oral historian, and she has driven an ice cream truck.