The Baltimore Banner is adding some longtime Baltimore Sun staff members and other Baltimore-area journalists to its roster as the new digital news outlet prepares to launch this year.
Former Sun deputy editorial page editor Andrea K. McDaniels will serve as the Banner’s managing editor, announced The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, the nonprofit overseeing the Banner, on Wednesday.
Also joining the Banner’s ranks from the Sun will be veteran Sun reporters Liz Bowie, Justin Fenton and Tim Prudente; as well as Lawrence Burney, founder and editor of True Laurels, an online and print publication about music and culture in Baltimore and the D.C., Maryland, Virginia (DMV) region with an emphasis on artistry by Black creators.
Kimi Yoshino, who was named editor in chief of the Banner in October 2021 after serving as managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, said the new additions to the newsroom have demonstrated dedication to telling the stories of Baltimore and the surrounding region.
“We are thrilled to welcome these experienced, award-winning journalists to the Banner,” Yoshino said in a statement. “They each bring a unique set of skills and knowledge, but all share the same commitment to telling the most important stories in Baltimore. I’m excited by the caliber of journalists we’re hiring and confident that we will build a newsroom that represents our communities and provides essential and compelling coverage.”
McDaniels, who covered local politics, business and health as a Sun reporter and later served on the paper editorial board, took a buyout in June 2021 after the Sun and formerly Tribune-owned papers were purchased by Alden Global Capital.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to play a major leadership role in creating a nonprofit model to sustain local journalism and providing a platform that will make sure that every voice in the community is heard and represented,” McDaniels said in a statement. “I look forward to helping build a diverse newsroom that gives communities the strong, local news coverage they want and deserve.”
Burney, of True Laurels, will serve as the Banner’s arts and culture editor.
“Since I started my career in journalism, I’ve always dreamt of working with a publication like The Baltimore Banner that’s willing to take the necessary risks to empower a truly diverse range of people within the city to tell the stories they know deserve to be told with proper sensitivity and insight,” Burney said in a statement.
Fenton will work as an investigative reporter for the Banner after covering criminal justice issues for the Sun for 17 years. He published a book, “We Own This City,” about the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal, which was adapted into an HBO miniseries slated to premiere this spring.
“I’m excited to be part of building a new approach to local journalism in Baltimore,” Fenton said in a statement. “The stories here need to be told, and I’m hoping talented journalists will join me at The Baltimore Banner and help us tell those stories in new ways.”
After 17 years, I’m leaving the Baltimore Sun this month to join the new Baltimore Banner and help create a new non profit model for local news here
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) January 5, 2022
Bowie, who has reported on local and statewide education issues for the Sun for more than two decades, will continue to cover the education beat at the Banner. She was part of the team of Sun reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for the newspaper’s coverage of former Baltimore City mayor Catherine Pugh’s fraud and corruption scandal around her “Healthy Holly” children’s books.
“I am so excited to be part of the launch of a nonprofit news source that will put the reader and our community at the center of its mission,” Bowie said in a statement. “I hope we can create a national model for sustaining local journalism that is so desperately needed across the country.”
In ten days, I am leaving The Sun and joining The Baltimore Banner, a nonprofit, local news outlet launching this spring to cover the Baltimore region. Couldn’t be more eager to begin this new experiment in local news.
— Liz Bowie☀️ (@lizbowie) January 5, 2022
Prudente will serve as an enterprise reporter for the Banner after reporting on a wide range of beats as a Sun reporter for six years.
“Baltimore needs all the journalists it can get, and I’m eager to join a nonprofit that’s committed to local news and telling the stories of our Charm City,” he said in a statement.
The Venetoulis Institute is hiring for positions at the Banner.
Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr. launched The Venetoulis Institute last year after his failed attempts to buy the Baltimore Sun before the Sun’s former parent company, Tribune Publishing, struck a deal with Alden Global Capital.
Bowie, who was co-chair of the local unit of the Washington-Baltimore Press Guild, which includes the Sun, was among the vocal supporters of restoring the newspaper to local ownership and, later, of Bainum’s effort to buy the paper.