Berkeleyside’s new mission

A new initiative for civic-minded local news


As it marks its tenth year, independent, award-winning local news organization Berkeleyside is launching a new digital news site in Oakland. The move coincides with Berkeleyside’s conversion to a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to deliver civic-minded local reporting for and with people and communities whose information needs have not traditionally been served by daily news outlets.

To date Berkeleyside has operated as a for-profit benefit corporation. Now it is reorganizing as a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit umbrella will provide business and editorial oversight, fundraising, technical and membership support to Berkeleyside, the new Oakland news site, and future sites it launches in underserved communities.

The Oakland news site, which will launch in spring 2020, will be dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that delves deeply into the city’s institutions and amplifies the voices of community stakeholders across the city in a time of extreme urgency and transformation.

Our mission

Recognizing that local communities are the lifeblood of society, we deliver high-quality journalism to underserved cities in order to foster civic engagement, enrich people’s lives and contribute to a healthy democracy.

Who we are

Journalists Lance Knobel, Tracey Taylor and Frances Dinkelspiel founded Berkeleyside in Berkeley, California, in 2009. A pioneer in the field of online local journalism with a staff of seven, Berkeleyside averages 1 million monthly pageviews and 300,000 unique visitors a month. It is seen as a model for digital local news, having built up a highly engaged audience and a high level of trust in the community it serves.

In 2016-18 Berkeleyside was the first news organization in the country to make a direct public offering. In doing so, it raised $1 million from its community of readers.

In 2019, Berkeleyside founders Frances Dinkelspiel, Lance Knobel and Tracey Taylor were selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal that honors members of the community whose work has benefited the people of Berkeley. In 2013, 2014 and 2019, Berkeleyside was the winner of the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California chapter) Excellence in Journalism Award for Community Journalism.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Photo: Sarah Gerber

Berkeleyside Co-Founder and Executive Editor Frances Dinkelspiel is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November 2008, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. Her second book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California was published in October 2015 and was both a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. Frances is a former staff reporter for the Syracuse Newspapers and the San Jose Mercury News. Her freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Daily Beast, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere.

Lance Knobel

Photo: Sarah Gerber

Berkeleyside Co-Founder and Publisher Lance Knobel has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain, and World Link, the magazine of the World Economic Forum. In 1999-2000 he was director of the Programme of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. He is also the founder and curator of Berkeleyside’s Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas.

Tracey Taylor

Photo: Sarah Gerber

Berkeleyside Co-Founder and Managing Editor Tracey Taylor has been published in The New York Times, the Financial Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Tracey has worked as an editor for business-to-business magazines and at the Financial Times in London, as well as for private clients, including nonprofits and authors. She has also edited books and worked as a professional blogger.


Our Story was launched in November 2019 by the team behind Berkeleyside, one of the most pioneering, innovative, highly regarded independent local news sites in the United States. Berkeleyside was launched by three veteran journalist in November 2009 in Berkeley, Calif., 10 years to the month before the launch of’s second newsroom after Berkeley will launch in spring 2020 in Oakland, Calif, a dynamic, rapidly changing city that is grossly underserved in terms of accountability reporting and community journalism. Read about Oaklandside.

We’re Hiring

Passionate about our mission? Got skills? We’re looking for good people and are committed to equity, inclusion and diversity. Join us.

Growth strategist
Director of operations
Engagement editor

Support our work

If you believe that everyone deserves free access to unbiased, accurately reported information about the place they live and work, and that an informed and engaged community makes for a healthier democracy, support our work. is a 401 (c) organization and all donations are tax deductible.