Help us reimagine and rebuild local journalism to serve all Arizonans.

Arizona Luminaria is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to truly local news and community-centered journalism. We need your support to launch AZ Luminaria into a sustainable nonpartisan news source that works for all Arizonans.

Arizona's local journalism crisis

Thursday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m.

We invite you to join us for a conversation about the local news and information crisis in Arizona hosted by Arizona Luminaria Executive Editor Dianna Náñez and featuring Marisol Flores-Aguirre, CEO B*tch Media, Andrew Ramsammy, Chief Content & Collaboration Officer at Local Media Association, Jonathan Rothschild, former Tucson mayor and founder of the Rothschild Fund for Civic Innovation and Shondiin Silversmith, Indigenous Communities reporter at Arizona Mirror.

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Our mission. Our promise.

Arizona Luminaria listens, learns and lights a path for people who want local news that’s a resource for action, equality and democracy.

Our communities know Arizona’s news environment is in bad shape. People across our state are living in cities, towns and Indigenous lands where there aren’t enough journalists to shine the light on government and power when it’s not working for the people.

It’s hard to find in-depth, easy-to-understand information dedicated to the issues Arizonans are passionate about. So passionate that people across the state are searching for new ways to invest in their communities, right wrongs and hold power accountable to the people.

 

Our values

• We believe in local news that places the needs of people and communities first. 

• We believe in local journalism that’s accountable to all Arizonans. 

• We value the stories, strengths and struggles of all Arizonans. 

• Our grassroots approach to journalism listens, adapts and unites.

We are listening to Arizonans who say...

If I’m reading something about my community I want a clearer path to act or do something about an issue.

For me, it’s hard to find news that is necessary and important.

Will you launch Arizona Luminaria with us? 


Your donation, as a Founding Member, will help us hire dedicated journalists who will connect you to information and investigations you need to make change.

Founders

Together, co-founders Irene McKisson, Dianna Náñez and Becky Pallack have more than 50 years of experience in Arizona newsrooms as reporters, editors, mentors, community organizers, business-side experts and digital innovators.

This trio will make local news equitable, relevant, helpful, community-centered and accessible for all Arizonans. Email us at info@azluminaria.org

Irene McKisson
Principal Executive

Irene is an audience development expert and obsessed with reader-first journalism. She is a former Arizona Daily Star editor and was co-founder of #ThisIsTucson and led that team until July 2021. She and Becky were 2019 Tow Center for Digital Journalism research fellows and published a paper about reader revenue in the Columbia Journalism Review. She is a member of the 2017 cohort of ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator, an experience that changed her working life. She is a frequent speaker for national and international journalism workshops and conferences, a teacher at the University of Arizona, a mother, reader, baker and AP Style nerd. She was born in Tucson and plans to stay forever.

Dianna Náñez
Executive Editor

Dianna Náñez is an investigative journalist, narrative writer/editor and storytelling coach whose story of Indigenous and borderlands communities was part of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning Arizona Republic team coverage. She served as a board member for NAHJ and is a member of the 2017 cohort of ASNE’s Emerging Leaders Institute. She’s a frequent public speaker for journalism and community forums, taught journalism ethics and diversity at ASU and is an expert in workplace standards for mentorship, diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging. When she's not in hype-woman mode or ruminating on life and news, she’s channeling her Mexican ancestors, talking to birds, and eating tacos weekly and menudo on Sundays with her familia.

Becky Pallack
Operations Executive

Becky was a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Daily Sun and she has covered just about any topic you can think of. She’s a three-time winner of the Arizona Newspapers Association's Freedom of Information Award. She was co-founder of  #ThisIsTucson, and she and Irene are among the winners of the 2019 Google News Initiative’s Innovation Challenge. Becky was a 2020 fellow at the NewStart local news ownership initiative at West Virginia University. She has volunteered with the Arizona Press Club, local startup communities, Girl Scouts, and Saguaro National Park. She grew up in Yuma and lives in Tucson with her partner and her trusty sidekick, Rocket Dog.

Ethics, equity and standards

We are grateful for the community support that makes AZ Luminaria’s local journalism possible. AZ Luminaria follows the ethics and standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Society of Professional Journalists.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from foundations, individuals, businesses and the community but news decisions are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Read on for more about our donor-transparency policies.

We hold ourselves accountable to the American Society of News Editors’ commitment to achieving racial/ethnic parity so newsrooms accurately and fairly reflect the communities journalism serves.

We are committed to building an equitable, healthy newsroom culture that serves people from all backgrounds and to supporting Vision25, a movement led by the Online News Association, the Maynard Institute and OpenNews to establish a journalism industry where newsrooms are actively anti-racist, collaborative and journalists of color feel like they truly belong.

Donor Transparency

We filed our application for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS in August, 2021 and now qualify as a nonprofit charitable organization that can accept donations. When that application is granted, donations made beginning in August, 2021 will be tax deductible. 

Operating as a public trust means we do not pay certain taxes and we may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits. It also means we are required to be nonpartisan and do not endorse candidates.

We are committed to transparency in our funding model by publicly listing donors who contribute $5,000 or more per year. 
Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization and our news judgments and editorial policies are not influenced by donors or other funding sources. Donors do not assign, review or edit content.

As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting donations  from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

At the heart of our not-for-profit news organization is commitment to serve our communities and hold the public’s trust paramount to the journalism we publish for all Arizonans.

Donors and Founding Members

AZ Luminaria has received contributions of $5,000 and more from the following donors:

We are deeply grateful for the support of our Launch Donors Julie and Matt Harelson whose donation has made it possible to start work on building AZ Luminaria. We appreciate the support of our fiscal sponsor, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

Founding Members:

The following Founding Members are directly supporting the launch of AZ Luminaria with their contributions. Thank you Founding Members!

Elena Chabolla

Megan Finnerty

Lindsey and Brett Fera

Sara Hammond

William J. Hill

Heather Hiscox

Tamar Rala Kreiswirth

Valerie Lane

Lucas Lowe

Michele Michaels

Andrew More

Dianna M. Náñez

Dr. José E. Náñez Sr.

Lucy M. Náñez

Ashley O'Dell

Connie Otto

Debbie Pallack

Ash Ponders, Juntos Photo Coop.

Andrew Ramsammy

Jay Rochlin

Larry Sandigo

Ellen Shallcross and Evan Shallcross

Luke Simmons

Jim Small

Thomas Tronsdal

Mark Woodhams

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