Amy Kovac-Ashley, the executive director of Tiny News Collective shares insights on how Tiny News Collective supports early-stage news founders, particularly those from traditionally excluded communities, by providing resources, tools, and a supportive community. 

The discussion covers the importance of diverse voices in local journalism, the challenges faced by local news startups, and the innovative ways they can engage with their audiences. Amy emphasizes the significance of understanding community needs and tailoring editorial and business strategies accordingly.

Key takeaways include the potential for local news to act as a community connector, the value of arts and culture coverage, and the need for sustainable support systems for small news organizations. Amy also highlights successful case studies, such as Future Tides and The Shout, and explores the role of new revenue opportunities in sustaining local journalism.

Episode chapters:
(02:36) – The mission of Tiny News Collective
(05:24) – Changing the face of local news
(07:43) – Arts and culture coverage as community connector
(16:43) – Building support systems for early-stage news founders
(27:03) – Tailoring support to individual needs
(31:39) – The challenges of early-stage founders
(43:19) – Scaling support
(45:46) – Criteria for joining Tiny News Collective
(48:15) – Rapid-fire questions

Listen to the episode here:

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Bio:

Amy Kovac-AshleyAmy Kovac-Ashley is executive director of the Tiny News Collective. Prior to Tiny News, Kovac-Ashley was head of national programs at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the executive vice president & chief of news transformation at the American Press Institute. She served the managing director of West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media Innovation Center and the assistant dean of Georgetown University’s master’s in journalism program.

Kovac-Ashley spent a dozen years as a professional journalist, with most of her time working in print or digital news. She reported on education and other local affairs at The Herald News and The Roanoke Times and was an editor at Foreign Policy magazine, Patch.com, and The Washington Post, where she was the paper’s first social media editor. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

 

Full transcript:

(recorded via Riverside.fm; transcript automated via Castmagic.io, mostly unedited)

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:00:00]:This is an opportunity for us to remake the way that journalism works and to have it actually serve also as a community connector. And in that way, I think there's a tradition—and you know this well, from smaller weeklies that have been around for, you know, hundreds of years, that's a lot of what their focus has been. Most people don't think about them, though. They think about sort of larger media. You know, I've worked in some of those environments. Some of them had, you know, there were staff obviously who had that at their core, what they wanted to do, but that wasn't necessarily what the business was there to do. And so I think this is a real great opportunity to help reimagine and remake what journalism could look like now and what it can look like in the future, which is super exciting. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:00:48]: Welcome to the Local News Matters podcast, where we explore pathways to stronger journalism, better businesses, and healthier communities. I'm Tim Regan-Porter, CEO of the Colorado Press Association.  

This episode, I talk with Amy Kovac-Ashley, the executive director of Tiny News Collective.  

Amy shares how Tiny News Collective supports early-stage news founders in addressing the specific needs of their communities, providing resources and tools especially for those traditionally excluded from the industry. We discuss both the successes and the challenges of local news startups. She emphasizes the importance of diverse voices and tailoring your editorial focus and your business to local needs.  

Previously, Amy was the Head of National Programs at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Executive Vice President & Chief of News Transformation at the American Press Institute. She has experience in hyperlocal and national news as a reporter and editor, and served as Assistant Dean at Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies Program in Journalism. Amy holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and an MA in Russian and East European Studies from Stanford University. 

If you like this episode and what we're doing more generally, please follow in your favorite podcast app, leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts, and tell your friends about us. This is a side project and a labor of love, and your support means a lot. You can find past episodes, full transcripts, and relevant links, and sign up for our newsletter at localnewsmatterspodcast.com, or for lazy typists like me at lnmpod.com. You also follow us on most social media channels @lnmpod. 

And now I bring you Amy Kovac-Ashley. 

Alright. Welcome, Amy. Thanks for being on the podcast. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:02:33]: Thanks for having me, Tim. I appreciate being here. 

The mission of Tiny News Collective 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:02:36]: So you took the job as executive director of Tiny News how long ago now? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:02:41]: I started in January of 2024. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:02:43]: So what attracted you to the position? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:02:46]: So I am really drawn in by our mission and,the idea that, you know, we really need to be thinking about what the landscape of local news looks like and that there's a real opportunity right now to support the early stage news founders out there across the country who are trying to serve their communities from the ground up. It's really important that, you know, as the media is changing and as the landscape changes that people are still being served, and more importantly, that they're being served in the ways that they need to be served. And I think that's a really great opportunity for early stage founders, and for our members in particular, to really think about what are the audience needs that are happening in their communities and how can they meet those needs. We also—you know, a a big part of our mission is to make sure that we're providing the resources and community and tools to folks who might have found that challenging to do in the past because those avenues were not really open to them, or if they were open, they may not have been the most welcoming, And, you know, as you well know, you know, there's sort of the concept of news deserts that we've all been talking about for a long time of folks that are kind of, like, losing their news. But there's been lots of communities across the country who have never been very well served, and I would argue that those folks have been in their own version of a news desert for many, many years. We just have not really paid close attention to that. And so that's another area that we really want to be serving and supporting folks who are raising their hands to sort of be that community news and information provider and a community connector. I think that's a really important piece to all of this as well is that this is an opportunity for us to remake the way that journalism works and to have it actually serve also as a community connector. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:04:45]: And in that way, I think there's a tradition, and you know this well, from smaller weeklies that have been around for, you know, hundreds of years—that's a lot of what their focus has been. I think most people don't think about them, though. They think about sort of larger media or even metropolitan dailies, those sorts of things, and I don't know. I've worked in some of those environments. Some of them had you know, there were staff, obviously who had that at their core of what they wanted to do, but that wasn't necessarily what the business was there to do, often. And so I think this is a real great opportunity to help reimagine and remake what journalism could look like now and what it can look like in the future, which is super exciting. 

Changing the face of local news 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:05:24]: And so a lot of what you're getting at is kind of summed up on the Tiny News website with the big headline. You can change what local news looks like. We can help. So I wanna dig into both pieces of that, which you've alluded to both of those, but I wanna dig into the details. So first, let's start with going a little more in-depth and changing what local news looks like. So you've talked about some of that, but what is the scope of that in your mind that Tiny News is there to help with? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:05:53]: So there's a couple of different factors, I would say. Right? I think there's, the first thing that I think of is who is a publisher. Right? Who can be a publisher? You know, I think that when you look at our members, you know, you look at those folks and you may you know, if you have more of a traditional point of view, maybe like, that doesn't look like a publisher to me. Right? It doesn't look like the person 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, even now in a lot of the larger places. We have a lot of folks that don't look like the people who have traditionally been called publisher. So, you know, we have a lot of members—the majority of our members are women and women of color, and there's a large percentage of our members who are also LGBTQ. So there's, like, a lot of folks who've been, you know, not really welcomed into the industry in the last however long, and so we just want to be able to just—like literally we're changing the face of what a publisher looks like. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:06:49]: Right? And I think connected to that also is that a publisher is not somebody who necessarily has to come up through traditional journalism. Right? I will just disclose that I did go to journalism school. I do have a master's in journalism. Happy to talk to anybody about that at some other time, about why I did that. People make that choice for very specific reasons, but not everybody wants to do that nor is that necessary, and I think, you know, a lot of our members are also people who are community members who are in the place that they're trying to serve and that's how they kind of caught this bug, not necessarily through sort of more of a professionalized sort of journalism kind of a way. They've come up through the community end and they see providing news and information as part of their mission. And I think we need to sort of widen the scope to make sure that we're including those folks as well.  

Arts and culture coverage as community connector 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:07:43]: The other thing that I would say is when we think about what, how things can look different is, you know, we talk a lot about wanting to have innovative business models and do things differently, and we still don't, we don't still see—I mean, like, the word innovation is a really interesting one because it like, the hardcore innovation, I'm not sure that we're totally seeing that, but I think there's opportunities for us to really see that on the smaller scale because people know their communities really well. 

So just an example of that, and it's a very nascent example, but, one of our members, Cara Kuhlman, who's in, who has a site called Future Tides, and she covers the Puget Sound area specifically about the waterways. So the people who live on the waterways, who work on the waterways, who play on the waterways. Right? She herself, I think, lived on the water for a long time, and she recently just decided that she was gonna be doing some tours as part of the work that she does. So she, you know, she has a website, she's producing content, all of those sorts of things, but there's an opportunity for her to really do more audience engagement. And, you know, there's an interesting piece of this, you know, trying to show things to people. When you're in a local place, you can do that. Right? Like, the Washington Post isn't necessarily gonna do that because their reach is national and global. But for places that are really local, we gotta think about other revenue opportunities and other sort of ways to get people into the funnel. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:09:15]: It's possible someone would come on one of her tours and never have seen her site, just they saw her somehow in social media or wherever else. It's also possible they would come to the site and go to a tour. So I think there's a really cool experimentation that she's doing to try to figure out how does she both provide more information and connection around the content area that she's focused on, and can that be a revenue driver for her? Can that be one of many different options? Right? I think we've all gotten away from the idea that there's gonna be one silver bullet to the revenue pie here. I'm gonna mix all my metaphors. But that, you know, that idea of a tour is, you know, we could say that's sort of an offshoot sort of, like, the concept around events, for example. Right? But it's very specific to what she's trying to do. And I think that's something that is, gets at sort of us being in a position to help people who are really remaking journalism. I wouldn't have come up with that idea. I will tell you that right now, right? But that's an amazing idea, and she's trying to serve her community through that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:10:19]: And I think there's other opportunities like that for folks who are really thinking about this in a little bit of a different way and who are also very specifically trying to reach certain folks, and she's got a very clear definition of who she's trying to serve. I will say that I I loved a recent story of hers that had, it was all about the orcas because I'm just interested in orcas. I don't live in Puget Sound area. So it's not that other people might not be interested in it. It's just that she knows who her audience is and who she wants to serve. And I think that's very true for a lot of our members. We have a number of sites, and this is something I want to dig into more when I have a little bit of time, but we have a number of sites who are covering arts and culture in wherever they are. There's a couple sites that are—there's one site in particular that is covering it more across the country, but there's a few sites of ours that are looking at specific areas, and then they're looking at arts and culture in those communities. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:11:13]: And I find that really fascinating. I sort of have a little bit of a hypothesis that that's because so many local newspapers had divested from that kind of content pretty early on. But what I think is so interesting about kind of getting back into that space is arts and culture is a place where you can bring people together. And I think we really need those spaces of bringing people together because, you know, as we know, the country is very polarized and divided in a lot of ways. And so we need to be looking for those bright spots of things where we bring people together. So that's why Austin Vida, which is Nancy Flores in Austin. She is covering arts and culture, but specifically for the Latine population in Austin, which is huge. Like, both of those things brought together is huge. There's a pretty large opportunity for her from an audience perspective, right? And then in Wichita, we have a site that just launched, just in April through a partnership with the Wichita Foundation called The Shout and they are covering arts and culture in Wichita and the first thing they launched with was a community calendar and you know it had something like 250 events for the month of April that they had just scoured from everywhere that they included, and it was the very first thing they launched with. And I think that's important because it's a service to people. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:12:37]: And then since then, they've been doing a lot of really cool feature content. They had a really awesome, I think it's called, like, record day where, you know, you can go to your, like, local record store and they had this whole thing and somebody had written about, leafing or or filing through all the crates, which is something that folks who go to record stores do. Like, that's part of the experience. Right? And so they had these lovely photos from the event and all these things and it was sort of, it took this thing that was like yeah national record day but it brought it home into their community and went to local stores, and talked to local people about what that meant to them. And so I think it's those kinds of things that we have a real cool opportunity to help sort of sprout and flower that may not be what folks think of when they first think of local journalism. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:13:24]: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I think, as you said, yeah, I think you're seeing more of that come back because I think people are realizing how important it is. I mean, you know, investigative journalism, you know, is a big part of why we're the Fourth Estate. Right? That's one of our unique roles to play, but it's not all of life and it's not all of what people want out of their local communities and their local news. And so it has value in and of itself. People want to know what's going on. It has value, to connect the community, and it also has value for audience because, you know, investigative journalism needs a platform to, you know, for people to read it and, you know, if you're just doing investigative journalism, first of all, hopefully, your community is not so corrupt, that at a local level, you've got daily daily investigative stories. Right? So you need all of this to really, I think, thrive as a local news ecosystem. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:14:20]: Well, and I—the other thing is that interesting thing about The Shout, and I don't know that they've done this just yet. They really literally just launched a month ago. But I know they've got it in their plans to think about accountability journalism as part of the overall picture as well. Right? So a lot of pub—maybe not a lot of public money, but there's public money that goes into the arts. Right? And where does that money go? Who's getting that money? Is it the same people every year? Is it being equitably distributed? You know, like those questions are out there and I think they are setting themselves up for being able to do some of that work in addition to the other things that they're doing and to have a nice mix of different types of content. So I think there's a way to weave those things together, particularly around specific topics because if you're an expert in a topic, you'll be able to kind of, you know, level it up and down however you want to provide that information to people. So I'm really excited to see what they're able to do in that space once they've kind of got their feet under them a little bit more. But they've been doing a really amazing job and we're really lucky to be able to work with them. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:15:31]: And, they've brought a lot to the community. We just had a collective call. So one of the things that we do with our members is we have these three different synchronous calls with them once a month. One of them is just a collective call that everyone can join. You know, we encourage our board members to come if they're able to because many of them have had startup experience as well. And it's just an opportunity to sort of share what's going on with us from an organization standpoint and then also have members share what they're up to. And so it's lovely to be able to see them and hear about what's going on. Yeah. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:16:04]: It's just been really great to see the, from the prelaunch phase to now, how things are going and, you know, where the pain points are. Right? Like, what have they learned in the last month or so? What are they wanting to do differently? I think you can you know, when you're starting up, you can really ask those questions and you're not wedded to anything in a way that I think, you know, at least in my experience, in traditional kind of legacy media, trying to stop doing something was always a challenge because so many people kind of saw it as as sort of a sacred cow often, to be able to to adjust or even just to reflect, like, how's this going? Right? 

Building support systems for early-stage news founders 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:16:43]: Absolutely. So let's talk a little bit about how you help. And I'm particularly interested in this, not only for understanding how you work with your newsrooms, but as someone who is at a press association and works with lots of journalism support organizations. And of course, you worked at, American Press Institute and Lenfest. I think there is growing realization that the support functions are are really crucial because we have so many, you know, not just these startups, but, you know, family-owned newspapers, you know, all the way up to some of the more in the independent chains where we have a lot of duplication of effort. There's no reason that a three-person family-owned newspaper should be doing everything from the tech stack to the billing and collections to the reporting to the selling. And so I think this—I'm very interested in digging into your approach and what you provide your members and how others might learn from that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:17:37]: I am in violent agreement about too much duplication, and I think that's why you know, that's another reason that I was attracted to come here is that we've really chosen a lane. And I like to talk in t-shirt sizes, so we really are working with the extra extra small, extra small, and a little bit of small. And then we are super happy to —when people, like, outgrow our resources, we're super happy to help them graduate into wherever they wanna go, whether it's LION or INN or any number of other sorts of associations that are out there that are really there to support journalism. And so for us, we have a number of different ways that we support our members. One is with the community, and so that's sort of our base basis. And our foundation is really bringing together the community, these synchronous calls and engagements that we have around workshops and things like that to bring people together. We actually have two tiers of membership because we know that not everybody's gonna need everything all at the same time. So our community tier is really around our Slack community, these collective calls. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:18:46]: We also have a founders only call. Like, we are, don't, we don't go to those. We just open up the room for founders to talk to each other. It's not recorded. It's meant to be a safe space for folks to talk to each other about what's really going on and all of that. And then the third one that we do every month is some kind of workshop, and that will toggle all over the place quite honestly. So we just recently did one on audience surveys. And earlier this year, we had two founders who are farther down the spectrum. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:19:19]: So we had Mazin Sidahmed from Documented and Jiquanda from Flint Beat come join us. And that was really fascinating. Like they were talking about the things that they learned, the things they wish they'd done differently. It was a packed house. There was a lot of nodding on that call because it was just like they kind of, I think, they felt seen by that, and it was really great to be able to hear from folks who've been, you know, pretty successful but also were still trying to figure things out. Right? I mean, I think that's one of the things that is different now is that we're all still trying to figure things out. You know, the idea of what success—we always ask the question of what does success look like? It can really change over time. Right? And I think the other part for us that's important, which I should have said earlier, is that growing? And the word scale always scares me because I don't know what people mean when they say that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:20:15]: Like, in what universe can we scale? Right? Local doesn't exactly scale. Like, let's just be honest about that. Right? But it's a, I think for us, it's a really important thing to think about what's the appropriate amount of growth and how do you get there. Right? And so those are the kinds of things that we talk about with people. So we do things on the editorial side of the house. We do things on the more business side of the house. We're gonna have a session coming up about sort of building up your membership, those sorts of things. And then also the personal, which is where that particular workshop that I was just talking about sort of falls into that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:20:51]: Like we wanna recognize these are human beings who are going through this and it can be very isolating to be somebody who started something up, especially if you're doing it by yourself at the beginning, if you're a solopreneur. Some of our folks are cofounders, which is great because they have another person, but not, most of them aren't. So that's, those are the basics of the sort of the community tier. And then in addition to that, in our publisher tier, we offer a number of other different things. So we have access to some legal help, both from the business side, but also editorial help. We also offer a tech stack to folks. We use a particular theme. It's the Tiny News theme on Ghost, and we will help get people set up on that and provide technical expertise on that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:21:39]: You know, we do have some members who aren't using our tech stock, and that's cool. Like, that's—you know, people need to use the things that they need, and we don't wanna be prescriptive about that, but we do offer Ghost as an opportunity for folks who want something to get started with. It's, I've actually been pretty impressed by the platform quite honestly. I've had some conversations with the folks over there, and their approach is very much in line with ours from a mission standpoint, I would say, especially for very, very small publishers who don't have a lot of money, when they start out. Right? And so it gives them a platform to have both a website and a newsletter. You know, we could talk until we're blue in the face about how important newsletters are, and I think that's really important for people starting up as well, to get those email lists so they have that direct relationship with their community. So the tech stack, the access to legal help, and then we offer a number of additional, like, consulting hours with the folks who are in our publishing tier. So the way that's kind of been working lately, although I will say there are likely changes coming because I'm in the process of hiring a new membership director, our very first. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:22:47]: So more to come on that in the next couple of weeks, hopefully. I'm very excited about bringing somebody onto the team and, you know, having somebody come in and really look at what we're doing and think about, like, what other member services we can provide and how are the things that we're doing now? How's that working? But one of the recent situations is we'll, we had that workshop on audience surveys. And so to our publishing team members, we're offering some consulting hours with the person who did that workshop for us. So they will have one-on-one time with somebody to talk about their own situation, about whichever surveys they wanna do, or if they've already done one, they could talk about sort of the an—you know, how they analyze the data, those sorts of things. So we really wanna give access to as many of the folks who come into us and and others as well, so that they're getting as much help as they need as they're figuring things out. One thing I would just want to underscore broadly is these businesses, whether they will remain for profits or become nonprofits, these are their businesses. Right? We're there to help, you know, like in service of them, but it's important for them to be making the decisions that work for them and their communities and their, you know, what they need to see in front of them. So we are not overly prescriptive about a lot of things. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:24:04]: We wanna provide options of things to look at. Our Slack community is pretty active. We're posting opportunities and things there all the time. We've been, as you can imagine, very active on talking about this Press Forward open call that we're sort of in the middle of, at this point in time because our members are eligible for that. Right? Not all of them, but a large number of them are eligible, and, you know, we wanna give them as much information about that possibility because operating funds are so hard to come by. And, you know, what Press Forward is offering, I think is a really—like, I was heartened to see that they were starting with small news organizations because that's exactly who—I mean, we're tiny. Right? That's exactly who we serve. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:24:51]: And so I'm hopeful that a lot of these folks will apply, and, you know, we wanna make sure that we're getting them the information and as much as we can and supporting them as well. One other thing I didn't mention because I don't know why I didn't mention it, but both for our community tier and for our publishing tier, we offer fiscal sponsorship at a really reduced rate. And that's incredibly important for these startups who, they might know they wanna be a nonprofit, but you, they don't have their designation. They want to be able to have a way to take in, you know, all different levels of donations from folks. And so we can serve as their fiscal sponsor in both the community and the publishing tier. We also do that on the side for clients as well, and we will be in the pro—we're in the process of sort of putting together more materials and being a little bit louder, I would say, and clearer about that service that we're gonna offer. But we have been offering it to people sort of quietly here and there, and we'll be doing more of that in the coming months. There's another hire I'm gonna be making that will sort of help us kind of systematize that a little bit better as well. But the fiscal sponsorship is not—it's definitely something that people need, and we are set up in order to be able to do that. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:26:09]: And how many members do you have? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:26:11]: So I think we're above 30 founders at this time. There's a couple that—so that doesn't exactly equate to sites because there's a couple cofounders, and there's a few that are founders, but they don't have a site yet because they haven't launched yet. So one of our other Wichita partners is gonna be launching in June. So we're trying to help her get ready for that. And yeah. So it's a funny thing because on our website, and we were just talking about this the other day, on the website right now, at least, the way that we're listing our members is through their logos. But if you're an organization that doesn't have a logo yet, we're not really displaying you. So, we need to think about that because we're working with startup organizations who may not have a logo yet so we need to think a little bit more about that. 

Tailoring support to individual needs 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:27:03]: And how long's the collective been around? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:27:06]: So that's a great question too. So we've been around for about four years, come this fall, I believe. But as you can recall, four years ago was 2020, And so I think, you know, there was a lot going on with how we got started. We were the, sort of birthed by something called News Catalyst, which was sort of the brainchild of Aaron Pilofar, who was then at Temple University. And he and there were 2 other folks, Heather Bryant and Tyler Fisher, who were the cofounders of Tiny News. And the three of them were initially working for News Catalyst, so they didn't sort of switch into having kind of full-time staff just for Tiny News until a little bit later in the process. We did start out a little bit differently than what we're doing now, not in concept but in the way we were doing it. We had started out more with cohorts coming in. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:28:05]: So we had two cohorts come in, all at the same time, a group of people we had done like a big national call and all of that. We've sort of moved away from that. I think, I've worked on a lot of cohorts as I know you have as well. Cohorts work best when people are coming in somewhere around the same like timing and all those sorts of things, and that wasn't necessarily true for what we were doing. I think the other part of it is we were originally and I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details because I wasn't around for this, but, I think we were originally thinking of it, of what we were doing more as an accelerator of sorts, like we're gonna do this for this defined period of time and then you're gonna fly off into the, you know, sunset. But what we realized is that people still need help. Like, they, you know, they—just because we say that this is gonna be five months long or six months long doesn't mean that all of a sudden their site is gonna start, like, you know, just running away with each other, right, like, at that point. So, I think, you know, we've been learning from that cohort experience. Since then, we've been doing partnerships with places like Wichita Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:29:17]: That's been, kind of a variation on a cohort, I would say, but because we're not kind of taking them through a curriculum all at the same time, I think it's allowed for a little bit more flexibility and, you know, even with the Wichita folks, there were three sites that came out of that. One of them, Claudia Amaro, has a site called Planeta Venus and she's been up and running for a while, like, she's not at the stage of The Shout folks because the shout just launched in April. She's had a site up for a long time. So they're in very different areas. They can help each other and they talk to each other, and it's really cool to see that group of people, really, really helping each other and connecting with each other because they can meet in person, which is great. But bringing them in as a cohort wouldn't make a lot of sense because Claudia's like, I already got this stuff. Like, I don't need this. I need something else. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:30:11]: So we need to be able to kind of meet people where they are. I do think that we'll you know, once this new membership director comes on, I do wanna go a little bit more in a deep dive of, like, how you know, what are the different pathways in, you know, there's some opportunities, I think, for us to partner with other folks like Wichita and New Mexico, as well as other journalism support organizations like the documenters program, for example, or, the journalism and design program at the new school has this really great community college, sort of credit or credit or non credit program that they've been doing. So there's lots of folks in the industry that we wanna sort of be partnering with, and making sure that folks know that we exist, and what we're here for. I think, you know, because we just haven't been around as long, and so, you know, part of what I've been thinking about a lot is around how do we get in the right spaces for folks to see, you know, what we're doing and to make the connection with us and how that's different than maybe what some other folks who are journalism support organizations are doing in the industry and in the field. And then also how can we better work together to create those bridges for our members when they're ready to fly the COOP, and how can we support them into their next phase even if that's not with us. 

The challenges of early-stage founders 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:31:39]: You mentioned earlier how important the community aspect of what you provide is. What else have you seen, you know, what are their big, your members' biggest struggles and where have you been able to be instrumental in helping them? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:31:56]: Wow. Okay. So there's a lot of different things, I think. And it also depends on what stage you're at. Right? So people ask questions about, like, different tech integrations or different things they should be doing to set up various parts of the business, right? Those there's like the nuts and bolts kinds of things around budgeting, for example. That's a pain point that we've seen for folks is around budgeting and accounting, and so we've tried to bring in some resources around training and workshops with regard to that. What would be great is if there was like the equivalent of, you know, sort of like accountants for reporters kind of idea. Right? I was having a conversation with somebody about that the other day, and they were like, yeah. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:32:40]: We've been trying to think about that too, but, you know, they're just like, accountants don't need jobs. Like, everybody needs accountants. So how do we, like, attract the right group of people to sort of help these smaller news organizations? So that's a conundrum, I think, of sorts. I think the other part of it is there's the personal element of things. I mentioned that a little bit before, but it's sort of like, you know, when you're a solopreneur and you have a death in the family, what do you do? Right? How do you communicate that, about that to your audience that you're not gonna—you know, maybe they depend on something that you're doing every Monday or whatever. And how do you communicate with people about that? Do you communicate with people about that? Right? These are very personal things that these folks are doing in their work life but they also are having regular lives, right? And so I think there's, what I've been really heartened by is that when folks share that information with us in our community, there's like a wellspring of support for one another, both on those things, but also on the wins. Right? We have a channel in our Slack that's just called Amplify. And I'm constantly, like, berating people, like, tell us what's going on so we can tell other people. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:33:59]: But it's so cool to see, like, when, you know, one of our members is featured as a speaker somewhere or, you know, they did something really cool with their content that's a little different than others. So there's a site that we have as a member called Project Optimist in Minnesota, and she's been doing this really interesting series on wildfires in Minnesota. And as part of that, she's been working with a comics journalist. Right? So, like, really cool, interesting things, and we want people to know that. Right? We wanna highlight what they're doing. There was a meeting, like, a conference last week called the newsletter conference. I think it was the first time they had done it. It was in New York, and three of our members went. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:34:48]: They were there. They got some support from the Knight Foundation to go, which is really great. Shout out to Duc Luu for recognizing them and getting them to go. And it would like, I was like, send me a picture of all three of you together. And so we wanna celebrate both the wins, but also really support each other through, you know, some of the things that are hard about this. And I think that the perennial topic, and we can't get away from it, is just funding and revenue options for folks. Right? That's the sticking point for a lot of folks, and we wanna think about ways to help them with that. That's again why I'm so excited about this press forward opportunity. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:35:26]: That's a pain point, I think, for the industry overall. Our folks see it in a very stark way because they are starting their own things and, you know, their own bank accounts, their personal bank accounts are also affected by whether they can bring money in or not. And with so many founders, you know, I know a lot of founders of organizations that have been around for a while, only—they didn't start paying themselves until like year three or four, and even then it might have been half of what was market rate, right? And so being really real with folks about like that's what has generally been happening in a lot of places. You know, there's the outliers, of course, of the larger startups like the Houston Landing and other things like that. But I do think those are outliers, and there are many more people out there who are starting their own things and don't have access to millions of dollars to start with. And the thing that I beat the drum over is like, let's remember that those people are part of the ecosystem, and we can't forget about them, and we actually need to to support and fund them, because we really need to, you know, we need to see which of those those seeds are really gonna be able to flower, and the only way to do that is to give them some support to do that. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:36:45]: Yeah. And for the members you're working with, what is the revenue sources, you know, for your members? Is it reader revenue, advertising, philanthropy, tours? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:36:58]: It's all of the above. And, again, this is where it gets into I can't say, like, overall, our members are doing this thing because they're all sort of making their own choices about that. I will let me back up and say, I would say we're sort of in we have three buckets of members, right? We have ones who come to us knowing they wanna be a nonprofit, but they start out with an LLC or whatever they need to do in order to get set up and will get their nonprofit designation when they are able to do that. Right? And some of them are not able to do it for a while because they just need to get themselves established and all of those things and then even once they put the paperwork through it could take a year, right? So there's folks who know they want to be a nonprofit. There's folks who know they don't want to be a nonprofit And I'm being specific about that language because sometimes when we say like for profit, like it I don't know. It's like a triggering thing for folks that it's like, well, that's like corporate bad media and it's like no it's an independent media model of people who want to have some ownership and that's okay because it's their thing. They've started it. They're determining which way it goes, and they are independent. And I think a lot of times when we use the word nonprofit, sometimes we should really be saying independent news as opposed to just nonprofit because it's sort of a default, when that's not really what we mean. And so those folks who are not wanting to be a nonprofit, they you know, there's a lot behind that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:38:27]: Right? There's there's issues around like the Black press, for example, like this the historic Black press has often been not nonprofit, and I think a lot of the folks that we have that are also thinking along those lines are folks of color who are like, I really do wanna own something. There's power in me being able to own something and determine the direction of where it goes and not having a board determine that for me. And then the 3rd bucket I think are folks who are a little bit on the fence because they are not sure yet which way their audience would be able to support them the best, and so they kinda wanna just get started and then make that determination a little bit later once they get their feet under them. And so all of those different things that you mentioned, right, so reader support, philanthropy—which can come in a lot of different packages, advertising as well, other things. I mean, we've one of the things that some of our members are interested in is having a workshop about merch and merchandise. Right? Especially in very local places where people really love their community. Like, people love merch. Like, you know, I live in Washington, DC, and I don't know the number of, like, t-shirts that I've bought for my husband that have, like, the district or DC or 202 or whatever like that you know that kind of stuff right. And I think there's a real opportunity for a lot of our folks to get into the merch business, and it's become easier over time to do that because you don't have to have all this inventory around you all the time and things like that So as that kind of vend—the vendor situation there has gotten better. That opens up opportunities for our folks. So I think we're real open to a lot of different ways, and we just wanna meet the needs of what we're hearing from folks and merch is one of the questions that we've had. Advertising is an interesting one too. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:40:19]: I mean, again, depending on what world you're in, it's either advertising or sponsorship. Right? And trying to think about that. We're actually in the process of putting together a a report that's being funded by Hewlett about what the needs are around advertising for really, really, really small publishers, our extra, extra small and extra small folks, and trying to think about that. And we've had some conversations, with some folks about how someone would know that they're ready for advertising. Right? It's not just how you do it, but it's like, how do you know you're ready for it, which I think speaks to a bigger issue too for our folks. It's like if they get some money and they have some money coming in the door, how do they use that money to the best of their ability? Right? What's their first hire? Even if it's not a full time person, like, should I hire a part-time this thing over here or a part-time that thing over there? Like, how do we make those decisions? So, again, we're not prescriptive about that, but we do, you know, kind of talk through people through those things and have them think about what that looks like for them. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:41:25]: And do you have a stance on paywalls? Do your members, what's the—how many of them have paywalls? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:41:32]: My—that's a good question. I don't know that we've taken stock of that. That is one of many things I would like to take stock of in some member surveys that we'll do with our new membership director. Off the top of my head, I don't believe that we have folks with a paywall. I think most of them are oriented around having things freely available and instead are asking for members to support them. I'm almost positive that that's true. There's some one-off situations where we have someone who is actually a newspaper publisher, and they're more interested in the community aspect of what we're doing. They live in a place where digital is really not available because of broadband issues, which I know you're very aware of. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:42:16]: So I think that's something that we wanna sort of monitor over time. But, like, in that case, like, he has subscriptions, but he's also a nonprofit. So it's not really subscriptions. Right? So there's, like, all these, like competing interests around that. But for the most part, I don't believe that any of our sites have a paywall. And again, that's not up to me. It's up to whatever they think is gonna be best for them. You know, I think the paywall questions are really—it's a conundrum in a lot of ways, because I wanna make sure that folks, even if they're not well-off or well-heeled have access to news information about their communities. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:42:59]: I know there are some organizations out there that will, like, bring the paywall down for things that they you know, will deem sort of public interest. I appreciate that, but I also think there's a lot of other things that they probably, that really are public interest that would be great to have access to, and they don't make that decision. So, you know, it's a very nuanced conversation. 

Scaling support 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:43:19]: Yeah. Well, so you're providing, you know, advice and support that is bespoke. Right? And 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:43:26]: To some degree. Yeah. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:43:28]: That doesn't scale very well. So as an organization, how do you manage that? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:43:32]: Well, that's what, that's the phase that we're in right now, Tim. So, that's part of why we're bringing on this membership director. We have to start thinking about you know like how can we more efficiently think about what we provide? What are the things that we can do that are one to many? So that then for the things that really do need to be 1-on-1, we have the time for that. Right? And so that's where some of the questions that you're asking about, you know, categorization and this, that, and the other, all those things like we need to get better information about like kind of where people are so that we can start to kind of orient those workshops and those things towards sort of the the larger group of people and then make time, when possible for those one to one conversations. But, you know, as we grow, I think the other part of this is we need to be looking for patterns. We've started to see some of them. Like, the smaller the community, it's harder to see those patterns, but as we grow the community, we'll start to see those patterns more, and then be able to kind of direct services to people in ways that meet their needs, but don't require, you know, a 30 minute phone conversation with every single member, you know, once a week or whatever. That like, we couldn't even do that now. Right? So, yeah, so that's something that we're thinking about ourselves and I'm eager to bring this new person on to help think about that. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:45:03]: I think that's also where partnerships come into play, with other organizations. One of the things that I said sort of, I think I said near the top is like we picked a lane. We did that for on purpose, and I think if we can be pretty disciplined about sticking to that lane, we're gonna be better off, which means we stick to our lane, whatever the saying was. I think it was, I can't remember if this is Jeff Jarvis or Jay Rosen off the top of my head now, but it's sort of like do what you do best and link to the rest. Like, we basically need to do that equivalent in the journalism support space. And one of the two of those people is gonna be really mad at me that I can't remember which one it was. I think it was Jarvis. 

Criteria for joining Tiny News Collective 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:45:46]: Sounds like Jarvis. So last question before we go to rapid fire, who is Tiny News Collective really for? Like, if we've got a journalist or even an organization that already exists thinking about whether membership might make sense for them, what are the criteria? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:46:03]: So we are looking for early stage news founders and news entrepreneurs. You don't have to have launched yet. You just have, you know we want you to have a concept and an idea. We do have an application process and we don't take everyone. In that application process, we ask about who your intended audience is and what revenue opportunities you think are related to that particular audience or audiences. Right? There's a lot of other questions as well around background and sort of orientation and ethics and those sorts of things. But for us, I think it's really important that we are bringing people in who have a very clear idea of who their audience is intended to be and that they've got some ideas around what their revenue opportunities might also be. So, you know, most of the folks that we're working with are solopreneurs, but we do have a handful of cofounders. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:46:58]: I expect to see more cofounders, I will say, because I think that's become a little bit of a trend. It's easier to help each other out. And one of the cofounders situations, I think, that we're gonna be looking at soon has, like 4 or 5 people. Right? And so they can spread the work out a little bit more, which is great. So, yeah, so early stage news founders and and the other thing is we really wanna see folks who are serving communities that are underserved. That's a big swath, though, I will say. Right? I mean, there's sort of more the obvious kinds of underserved areas, BIPOC folks, LGBTQ folks and communities, rural communities, etcetera. But there's also a lot of places, you know so I live in Washington DC. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:47:40]: It's not considered a news desert, but there are lots of places in the city that are not covered at all. And I think people can make the case that, you know, there are lots of places in cities or other places that look like they're being covered and they're really not, and that also goes for topical sites. So we we have both kind of what you would probably more traditionally call like local news, and then we've got other topical sites as well. And we're open to all of that. We're open to all of that as long as people understand who their audience is and, you know, again, those revenue opportunities that go along with that. 

Rapid-fire questions 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:48:15]: Alright. So now for rapid fire questions. And the questions are quick, but your answers don't have to be. First question, compared to a year ago, are you more or less optimistic about the future of local news? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:48:26]: Woah. I'm gonna say more. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:48:29]: What gives you that optimism? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:48:31]: I'm trying to be rapid fire, Tim. I get a lot of energy from our members. And, you know, we had our collective call this week, and it's spring. So there's all these things coming together that make me feel like there's more opportunities out there. We just need to figure out how to seize them. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:48:47]: Does AI fill you with more hope or dread when it comes to journalism? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:48:52]: I was in a session last week where I, like, walked out being like, the world's gonna end. So right now I will say less optimistic. I see opportunities, but there's a lot of things that scare me about it, not because of journalism, but because of the way the technology has rolled out in the last 20, 30 years. And I just don't know quite frankly that like our government, for example, is prepared for what that looks like and how to actually not cede all power to the technology companies. So that's my concern. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:49:28]: Messy desk or clean desk? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:49:31]: Depends on where you are. Both. I have both. My husband will say messy, but I will say it's both. I have two different, I have multiple areas where I am, so both. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:49:44]: Do you have a favorite piece of advice that you like to give or that you've been given? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:49:49]: The thing that's coming to mind is something that somebody told me a long time ago. Actually, ex boyfriend told me a long time ago, which was don't—it's, I'm not gonna say it as eloquently as I'd like to right now, but basically, like, don't discount yourself for, like don't take yourself out of the running for a job before the other people do. So don't—you know, I think this speaks to the like imposter syndrome that a lot of folks have and that I also have, which is don't talk yourself out of something before you even have the opportunity potentially put in front of you. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:50:24]: Do you have a favorite failure of yours? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:50:27]: Oh, yes. Actually, I told somebody about this the other day. So when I was applying for college—so my parents really didn't go to college. My dad went to, like, a couple of years but, like, was not, he you know…. So I was the 1st in my family to go to college. My sister didn't go. So I kinda did that all on my own, and I applied to maybe, like, 10 or 11 places. And the one place I didn't get into was Georgetown. So I said earlier I live in Washington DC. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:50:56]: Several years ago, one of the jobs I had was as the assistant dean of the master's in journalism program at Georgetown so I was both an instructor and administrator at the school that would not admit me as an undergrad So I like how that kinda can turn around and you never know. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:51:17]: Yeah. Do you have a favorite place to think big? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:51:21]: Nature. So my husband and my children and I are trying to make it to as many national parks as we can. I think, all of us together, my husband and I have been to a couple more than our children have, but together I think we've been to about 13 or 14. We're going to 3 more later this year in Washington state, and there's nothing like a hike in the woods or in the desert. We were in Southern Utah for spring break this year to clear your mind and give you perspective and, you know, kinda like wash away all of the agita of the world. And so that's where I would go as nature. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:52:04]: Aside from nature, do you have anything else you like to do to maintain your sanity, or do you have advice you like to give to these overworked and stressed entrepreneurs? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:52:15]: So the thing I do is I get up real early every morning Monday through Friday at 4:50 to exercise. That's what keeps the demons away for me. Sometimes it's just a long walk. I live about 2 miles from the US capital, and I'll take my dog on a long walk, or sometimes it's a really high impact workout that involves, like, kickboxing. I don't really like running, but I do it because it's a faster form of getting that kind of exercise in. I think I don't really have advice for people about that except to say that everyone needs to find their thing that actually gives them peace, and I will say that I've become, I've really, really, in the last year or plus have been doing a lot more meditating and have found that that works, but that's one of those things like exercise that if you don't do it consistently, it doesn't actually work. It only works if you're doing it consistently, which sometimes it's hard to do, but it's good to quiet the mind and all of that and wrestle because that's what I do. I don't, I wrestle with the fleeting thoughts all the time, but I think people need to find their own thing. Like I know lots of people who love crafting or, you know, any number of different activities, playing music, etcetera. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:53:44]: So I think people just have to find what works for them. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:53:47]: Do you have a favorite time saving hack? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:53:52]: Oh, I'm sure I do. I just don't know what it is off the top of my head. I'm a big to-do list person. I don't—I think that saves me time. It definitely saves me like mental energy and mental load, so I have a, looking at my notebook right now, I have like pages and pages and pages of to-do lists, which I'm also trying to teach my children to do. My daughter has taken to it a little bit more than my son has, but their grandmother also is a big to-do list person so they're they're my husband's not really. He kind of gets annoyed about the to-do list, but it's, because it's his mom who's the to-do list person. So that would probably be my go to for time management and stuff like that. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:54:36]: And then the penultimate question, is typically what does wild success look like 5 years? But I wanna use a phrasing that you actually wrote about, I think, when you started [at] Tiny News. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:54:48]: Oh, you're gonna recruit. You're gonna read me back to me? Oh, no. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:54:53]: Yes. You said you stood before about 80 thinkers and doers in the journalism industry and asked them to imagine the best future for local news. So what would you, how would you answer that question? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:55:05]: So right now, I would say what I would love to see is the seeding and flowering and flourishing of maybe thousands of new news organizations across the country, but I don't think those folks have to go it alone. What I would love to see is that in particular geographic regions, and you could give a definition to that whether it's a town, a city, a region, or even a state, that actually those organizations, they're independent, but they work with each other. And they're not just working with each other on content. I think it's actually more important that they're networked together on the business side. So going back to the accountants for reporters kind of accounts for journalists thing, could Wichita with the 3 sites that we were helping to seed there, could the 3 of those sites work together and find one accountant for all 3 of them? Could they, you know, think about finding a grant writer that would help all 3 of them? There's this really cool movement, I think, going on of workers' collectives that we in journalism need to be learning from, and I think that to me would be, would be what I would want to see because it would mean that these organizations are sustainable, but they're not having to hold the whole load for all of those positions that are needed. They're able to be in community and in collectives with others doing important impactful work, but having the support that they need. And that to me is really what—like, I struggle like we use the word sustainability all the time and I think it's important, but it also feels like a fixed place and it's not. You know just like any small business out there could be successful now and then have some down years. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:57:00]: Does that mean they're not sustainable? I don't know. Right? Like what does that mean? So I think we need to think about this in a broader way and kind of break past some of the things in the past that we think is the way that media should be. So I think many more smaller organizations but that they're supported with sort of a back end structure that serves multiple outlets. That's what I would hope for. And, you know, for them, what I would hope for those communities is that they're getting some, you know, damn fine journalism that isn't just doom and gloom, but is also, you know, connecting them together as a community. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [00:57:37]: And then final question. 3 to 5 pieces of media that you would recommend. It could be TV, podcast, books. It doesn't have to be news related. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:57:47]: Okay. I was gonna ask about that. Well, so news related, I would say I'm a big fan of City Cast. They're an organization that's got both sort of audio, they've got podcasts and newsletters in a number of cities across the US. They do have one here in DC, and I love it. And I listen to it almost every morning. And I'm a paid member, so that's how much I love them. What else? I've been—so I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts because I need more joy in my life. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:58:19]: So I listened to Mike Birbiglia's Working It Out, which is a podcast in which Mike Birbiglia, who's a comedian and storyteller, interviews other comedians, and I find that fascinating. There's a whole section of his podcast, which is where the name comes from, that is about working jokes out so they will actually talk about their jokes with other comedians and, like, riff on each other and give each other help, which I think is really fascinating. I love hearing how jokes come together and, like, what works and what doesn't. I do listen to Marc Maron's WTF podcast. I haven't been listening as religiously, although I was very excited to hear him interview Carol Burnett. That was a person I'd really wanted him to interview. She's amazing. She's, like, 90 years old, and she's, like I just love her and just in so many ways. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [00:59:09]: Things I'm reading. I feel like I read more books than I do well, I mean, I graze like everybody else does. Right? But the book I'm reading right now is called The Checklist Manifesto, and it's really interesting to think about how checklists can be—we were talking about time savers. Right? How checklists could be a tool that we could use in journalism to make things easier. I think about this a lot with our members. Like, what are templatized things that they can do that won't look inauthentic but will be pieces of content and pieces of, you know, stories and things like that will still serve their communities. So I think that's like kind of in the checklist kind of area. I'm trying to think about what else I'm reading right now. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [01:00:00]: I mean, there's a local blog here that I like, which is The Hill Is Home. So I live sort of near Capitol Hill. I'm not technically on it, but, like, we're right next door. So I read The Hill as Home, to kinda find out what's going on in my general neighborhood. There's also a good newsletter called the DC Line that comes out pretty much every day, like Monday through Friday, talking about all the news going on in DC, just so that I'm kinda plugged in to what's happening around the city. Those are some of the things. I also list—I will, I'm in the process of, this is more entertainment. I'm in the process of rewatching, although I never watched all of it, Northern Exposure, which is now on Amazon for anyone who wants to do that, and there is a companion episode by episode podcast called Northern Overexposure that I listened to, that these, like, 2 guys who are doing the same thing I'm doing. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [01:00:54]: It's a little bit dated because they were doing it sort of during the pandemic, but it still applies because they're talking about all these episodes. So that's the, like, guilty pleasure thing that I'm, like, do. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [01:01:05]: Have you watched Hacks? 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [01:02:04]: I have. Actually, I know there's a new season, and I started watching that last week. Again, I watch a lot of comedy, so, like, I've, I'm, I can't figure out whether I like John Mulaney's Everybody's in LA yet. Like, I like pieces of it. I don't like the whole show yet, but he did a really great interview, or other way around. David Letterman did a really great interview with John Mulaney in his new, or not it's not new anymore, but, like, his show on Netflix. So, again, I I spent a lot of time with comedy. I saw Marc Maron last week actually in DC, and 2 weeks ago, I saw Trevor Noah with my 12 year old son, and I will see Mike Birbiglia later in June when he comes here. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [01:02:07]: So, yeah, I'm, it's my year of comedy, actually. I've been trying to go to more shows and, you know, having a little bit more fun injected into my life and not being so serious all the time. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [01:02:09]: Alright. Well, thank you for your time. This has been great. 

AMY KOVAC-ASHLEY [01:02:50]: Thanks. Take care. 

TIM REGAN-PORTER [01:02:12]: Thank you for listening to the Local News Matters podcast. Never miss an episode by subscribing in your favorite podcast player and sign up for our newsletter at lnmpod.com

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Past guests on the Local News Matters podcast include: Michael Shaprio (TAPinto), Kenny Katzgrau (redbankgreen and Broadstreet), John Garrett (Community Impact), Shannon Kinney (Dream Local Digital), Larry Ryckman (The Colorado Sun),  Frank Mungeam (Local Media Association), Kelly Ann Scott (Alabama Media Group), Sara Lomax and S. Mitra Kalita (URL Media), Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro (National Trust for Local News), Mike Rispoli and Richard Young (via When the People Decide), Sarabeth Berman (American Journalism Project), Rabbi Hillel Goldberg and Shana Goldberg (Intermountain Jewish News),  Lyndsay C. Green (via The Journalism Salute), Rashad Mahmood and Mark Glaser (New Mexico Local News Fund), Christian Vanek and Barbara Hardt (The Mountain-Ear), Dan Grech (BizHack), Zack Richner (Easy Tax Credits), Tracie Powell (Pivot Fund), Dan Oshinsky (Inbox Collective), Linda Shapley (via What Works), Yehong Zhu and Jake Seaton (Zette, Column), Charity Huff (January Spring), Joaquin Alvarado and Dave Perry (Aurora Sentinel), Steve Waldman (Rebuild Local News), Maritza Félix (Conecta Arizona), Michael Bolden (American Press Institute), Jeff Roberts and Corey Hutchins (CFOIC, Colorado College), Eve Pearlman and Erica Anderson (Spaceship Media), Jennifer Brandel (Hearken, Democracy SOS), Corey Hutchins with Bay Edwards, Todd Chamberlain and Raleigh Burleigh (Sopris Sun).