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About The Friendly State News

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The Friendly State News aims to bring the high quality education found at elite journalism schools to freelancers, students and small newsrooms at a far more affordable price. While conferences, continuing education courses and college courses are rich in resources, they are not always accessible to local and student newsrooms, whose budgets are being stretched tighter each year. Freelancers, likewise, can typically not afford to spend hundreds of dollars on flights and hotels to access location-specific training. With The Friendly State News, you'll get the same — and often more interactive — training you would find in person, but scaleable to include as many or as few reporters as you like. Freelancers can access these resources from home, and the tools used in these sessions will be permanently accessible to all attendees. 

Jessica is the owner and lead trainer of The Friendly State News. She is the editorial director of Votebeat. She has been a journalism educator at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and New York University, and has taught courses at IRE/NICAR and for the Ida B. Wells Association. In the spring of 2022, she will teach a course on public records access at American University. While a reporter at ProPublica, she developed a 10-course investigative journalism curriculum for high school students, which is in use by more than 200 high schools. For this effort, along with her work helping ProPublica run Electionland, she received the Society of Professional Journalists' Sunshine Award for Significant Contributions to Open Government.

Isabella, The Friendly State News' operations director, will be primarily responsible for scheduling trainings and arranging financial sponsorships. She is new to FOI herself, and eagerly awaiting the ability to share her new skills with newsrooms. She can be contacted at

If you have questions about the content of the trainings, please reach out to Jessica at

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