To see that all of Austin thrives

Our mission is to equip Austinites to make informed decisions through independent, investigative reporting, diverse opinions, and civil dialogue. We’re driven by the belief that a strong local press is essential for a healthy community and democracy.
a group of people in a room

Our Vision

We work to make Austin a more empowered and connected community. People across the city must be heard, informed, and able to participate in discussions and decisions that affect our common future. Confident, empowered citizens are better prepared to solve our problems and to hold city leaders accountable to us, their constituents.

The Challenge

Local journalism has not kept up with Austin’s explosive growth

People from all over the world come to Austin for music, opportunity, and quality of life. But Austin suffers from acute growing pains: exacerbated disparities, increasing homelessness, deepening divisions, displaced residents, and depleted aquifers. Independent investigative reporting can help dissect and better understand these challenges– the first steps to possible solutions.

Austin has 1 journalist for every:

As local journalism declines:

Did you know?

#1 to #40

Best Cities to Live

Austin dropped from the #1 to #40 ‘Best Cities to Live’ from 2019 to 2023

1 in 8

Austinites live in poverty

1 in 8 Austinites live in poverty


Life Expectancy Disparity

There’s a 20-year life expectancy gap between East and West Austin.

The Opportunity

Austin has the talent, resources, and need to build an independent, investigative nonprofit newsroom

Imagine what could happen – for our community and our democracy – if we reconceive how to create, deliver, and sustain local news? That’s why we’re starting Austin Free Press.

If any community can harness its energy and creativity to address these challenges, it’s Austin. Home to a strong community of artists, entrepreneurs, technologists, organizers and visionaries, Austin can meld the lived experiences of long-time residents with the perspectives of recent arrivals from around the globe.

Together, we can build a sustainable and cutting-edge newsroom to help address these challenges.

Board of Directors

Meet our board

Kellee Coleman

Alberta Phillips

Associate Content Editor

Gissela Santa Cruz

Andrew Wheat


Advisory Board

Bill Bunch

Robin Rather

Peter Ryder

Dr. Shawanda Stewart


Meet our partners

We formed our first partnership with Huston-Tillotson University to train student journalists and to incorporate their voices from the outset.


Join our team

Freelance for AFP: Please send your bio, links to a few sample clips, preferred beats and any suggested story ideas to

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Kellee Coleman Austin Free Press Board

Kellee Coleman

Kellee has over 18 years of equity and social justice community organizing experience. As the co-founder of Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana prenatal clinic, she has played a pivotal role in offering holistic prenatal care, midwifery services, and more to lower-income Black and Latina communities in Austin.

Kellee’s impact extends nationally, consulting with organizations like the U.S. Midwifery Education, Regulation, & Association, MANA, A National Latina Organization, and The University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs on equity and reproductive issues.

A graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Edward’s University, Kellee’s deep understanding of societal dynamics enriches her commitment to social justice. Her role at Austin Free Press contributes to our mission of inclusive storytelling and amplifying diverse voices in the community.

Alberta Phillips

Alberta Phillips, with an impressive 32-year career at the Austin American-Statesman, brings a wealth of journalistic expertise to her role on the board of Austin Free Press. As a former reporter, editorial writer, and columnist, Alberta’s dedication to uncovering truths and fostering transparency aligns seamlessly with our mission.

Throughout her esteemed career, Alberta has been nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize, highlighting her commitment to excellence in journalism. Notably, she was a key contributor to the Statesman team that earned the 2018 Spirit of Freedom of Information Award for their coverage of Austin’s clandestine search for a city manager.

In her role at Austin Free Press, Alberta’s seasoned perspective and commitment to investigative reporting contribute significantly to our mission of delivering diverse, impactful, and transparent journalism to the Austin community. Her presence on the board reflects our dedication to fostering a media outlet that champions freedom of information and enriches public discourse.

Gissela SantaCruz Austin Free Press Board

Gissela Santa Cruz

Gissela Santa Cruz is the Senior Director of Community Impact at Austin FC. Before entering the Sports Industry, Gissela was a journalist at the Austin American Statesman for nearly two decades. Her first role at the daily newspaper was as a web content producer. She later helped launch the Statesman’s Spanish-language weekly, where she received various state and national awards. Her final role at the Statesman was as an Editorial Board Member and Editorial Writer & Columnist.
Andrew Wheat Austin Free Press Board

Andrew Wheat

Andrew Wheat, a seasoned investigator and advocate for transparency, joins the board of Austin Free Press with a rich background in tracking money in Texas politics. As the former research director for Texans for Public Justice, Andrew has dedicated his career to shedding light on the intersection of power and finance.

With a robust editorial background, including serving as an editor for Multinational Monitor magazine and contributing award-winning work to the Texas Observer, Andrew’s commitment to investigative journalism aligns perfectly with Austin Free Press’s mission. His coverage of the S&L industry for American Banker publications showcases a deep understanding of financial systems and their impact on communities.

Andrew holds graduate degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri, as well as in Latin American studies and regional planning from the University of Texas. In his role at Austin Free Press, Andrew’s expertise enhances our commitment to delivering insightful, impactful, and transparent reporting that empowers the Austin community.

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