Local News Accelerator announces Mackenzie Warren as director


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation gave a $2.4 million grant to Medill for the Local News Accelerator.

Kara Peeler, Print Managing Editor

Media executive Mackenzie Warren (Medill ’00) is the new director of the Local News Accelerator, the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications announced Jan. 10.

The program, a part of Medill’s Local News Initiative, aims to strengthen local news organizations. Warren will work with local outlets to address topics such as business strategies, audience development, consumer research and leadership coaching. He will begin working at Medill’s Chicago campus this winter.

“A stronger local news ecosystem translates to a clear outcome: We and our neighbors will live healthier, more informed, safer, happier, more fulfilling lives,” Warren said in a University press release. “We have great momentum and our odds of success are high.”

Warren was an executive for Gannett — a mass media company and one of the largest U.S. newspaper publishers — from 2008 to 2016.

He said the accelerator will help local news outlets find their place as important community services and sustainable businesses. Warren also highlighted the importance of local news in Chicago due to its cultural impact and the city’s distinct neighborhoods. 

A $2.4 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation will support the Local News Accelerator over the next three years. 

Medill Dean Charles Whitaker welcomed Warren, whom he called “ideally suited” for the position. 

“Mackenzie has spent years working with local news leaders across the country on strategies for audience engagement and digital storytelling,” Whitaker said. “He understands the opportunities and challenges in local news as well as anyone, and he’ll bring that expertise to the Accelerator and our news partners.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @karapeeler 

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