Our mission
and vision

Outlier Media is a groundbreaking nonprofit newsroom designed to center and respond to Detroiters’ needs. Our original methods and tools find and address information gaps and systemic failures that create harm in our community. We are a model for others who believe that democratizing information and redistributing power is essential. 

Our newsroom works toward a vision of a liberated city with healthy civic infrastructure rooted in Detroiters’ participation and self-determination.

Our story 

Local news can do more for communities than just cover what happens to them. Starting in 2016 with our TXT OUTLIER service, we have shown how the methods and tools of traditional reporting can be made more accessible and useful by focusing first on serving people who need information to meet their challenges and achieve their goals.

Outlier was founded to prove that communities are better served when local news centers people’s needs by zeroing in on information gaps. We equip Detroiters to hold people and systems accountable for harm, and we use information to connect us to one another and contribute to a thriving community.

Our model

The people who work at and with Outlier Media put service at the center of what we do. We use our work to fill information, accountability and connection gaps in Detroit. 

We were one of the first newsrooms to let the community decide what we should cover. We developed an information needs assessment and matched our coverage to the areas where information and accountability gaps are greatest. We currently cover housing, utilities, transportation and city and county government. Read more about our recent impact.

Our TXT OUTLIER service delivers reported information to Detroiters who need it to meet daily challenges like eviction, navigating property tax appeals or avoiding utility shut-offs. It also allows users to talk to a reporter one-on-one. 

Our accountability and investigative reporting shines a light on issues where better information alone can’t make a difference and where a lack of accountability causes harm to Detroiters. Tools like our Detroit Development Tracker and programs like the Detroit Documenters bring Detroiters into the process.

The information and accountability gaps in Detroit are serious, but none of us are defined by our struggles alone. That is particularly true for Detroit, a city with an outsized cultural impact. We celebrate our legacy and keep Detroiters up to date on ways they can stay connected through our community and culture coverage. 

Outlier aims to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves in its staff, contributors, editorial choices and priorities.

Need help? Text “Detroit” to 67485 to let us know about any issue that impacts your quality of life and we will follow up.

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Collaboration with other newsrooms is central to Outlier’s model and our work to fill information and accountability gaps. Our work would not be possible without the support and brainpower of public service-minded journalists who have come before us and those working today.

Our community includes journalists throughout the city working together in the Collaborative Detroit Newsrooms (CoDe News) network. With a coalition of other local news outlet founders from around the country, we are developing and piloting value and business models we hope will improve the sustainability of local journalism.

Read more about our work with newsroom partners.

Support our work

Our core values of accountability and transparency are lived out in every aspect of our organization, including in our approach to giving. 

We accept monetary donations, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, foundations and organizations to help us achieve our mission. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor, sponsor, or partner support. 

Our organization makes public all donors who give a total of $2,500 or more per year. See these donors

We avoid accepting anonymous donations in order to demonstrate transparency about our funding. We will not accept donations from sources that present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

Outlier Media is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the state of Michigan. Our EIN is 87-4775293. All donations are deemed tax-deductible in accordance with IRS limitations.