Skip navigation

SACRAMENTO, Calif., APRIL 18, 2024 – CalMatters, the nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom that explains California politics and policy, today announced it is acquiring The Markup

The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom challenging technology to serve the public good, bolsters CalMatters’ reporting at a time when the entire world is watching AI developments and tech regulation coming out of California. The Markup’s proven methodology and expert journalists will improve coverage across all CalMatters beats – including education, health, housing and more – as it already has with localized reporting on how Los Angeles measures the “vulnerability” of unhoused people and how Angelenos were victims of digital discrimination

Launched in 2020, The Markup is an industry-leading news organization rooted in a simple premise: technology is integrated across our daily lives, and people deserve to better understand how it impacts them and what they can do about it. The Markup’s data-driven investigative reporting, accessible guides for the public, and creation of actionable tools like Blacklight, a real-time privacy inspector that readers have used to conduct over 13 million website scans, has helped everyone from consumers to policymakers to corporations take control of their relationship with technology.

“Pairing our proven methodology with CalMatters’ deep expertise will deliver unparalleled investigative journalism in California, and serve as an example nationwide,” said Nabiha Syed, CEO of The Markup. “We’ve learned that localized reporting leads to speedy and widespread impact, and that, combined with the resources we make available for local communities, has triggered national and international change. We’re really excited about what we’ll do together.”

The acquisition completes a repositioning of CalMatters to properly cover our technology influenced age. Khari Johnson, previously a senior reporter at WIRED, joined CalMatters at the start of the year. Last week CalMatters launched Digital Democracy, an innovative custom-built AI tool that reveals how policy decisions are made in California.

“We’re tremendously proud of what we’ve built in nine short years, covering California for Californians,” said CalMatters CEO Neil Chase. “We also have a national and worldwide audience because of California’s global impact. Bringing The Markup’s extraordinary talent and tools to all of our beats is a unique, exciting opportunity at the perfect time.”

Leadership for the newly combined organization will include Chase as CEO and Kristen Go as editor-in-chief. Sisi Wei will transition from her role as editor-in-chief of The Markup to a groundbreaking new role in nonprofit journalism: Chief Impact Officer. As CIO, Wei will apply The Markup’s journalistic approach to accelerate all of CalMatters’ work and forge new ways for journalism to serve communities. Syed will be a strategic advisor to the organization until she takes a new external role effective July 1.

“I’m thrilled to see these two strong national and local newsrooms coming together with capabilities that complement each other so well,” said Kathy Im, Director of the Journalism and Media program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which supports The Markup. “This out-of-the-box thinking will be what we need to build a strong news ecosystem serving communities nationwide.”

Expected to take full effect later in 2024, the acquisition will result in a single integrated newsroom where the journalists, products and tools from both organizations will deepen engagement and power news stories that deliver impact.

“The combined operation of The Markup and CalMatters will do deeper research and ask tougher questions – and that’s what our democracy needs right now,” said Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist whose support made The Markup possible.

CalMatters and The Markup are both highly regarded in the nonprofit media landscape. CalMatters has garnered dozens of prestigious regional and national journalism awards since its launch in 2015 and is especially well known for its innovative voter guides and daily WhatMatters newsletter. The Markup has been featured in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list as well as awarded a World Changing Idea, and has been the recipient of prestigious awards including the 2024 Philip Meyer Award, the highest honor in data journalism, two Murrow awards and a Gerald Loeb Award, both in 2022. 

To learn more about CalMatters, visit or follow on X, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook

To learn more about The Markup, visit or follow on X, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook.

About The Markup

The Markup is an award-winning media startup that challenges technology to serve the public good. The Markup helps the public make informed choices using their tools, blueprints, and investigations. In 2022, The Markup was recognized on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list as well as their World Changing Idea designation. The expert team of journalists, engineers and tech innovators have presented on the SXSW main stage, at Davos, and the Aspen Institute, and have delivered noteworthy keynotes at the likes of Computer Science for All Summit. Within journalism, The Markup has won two international Sigma Awards in 2024 and 2023, a global contest recognizing excellence in data reporting; the 2024 Philip Meyer Award, the highest honor in data journalism; two Murrow awards and a Gerald Loeb Award, both in 2022. 

About CalMatters

CalMatters is an award-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-platform journalism organization with a focus on California state politics and public policy. CalMatters journalists focus on bringing Californians stories that probe, explain and explore solutions to quality of life issues while holding our leaders accountable. CalMatters is the only journalism outlet dedicated to covering America’s biggest state, 39 million Californians and the world’s fifth largest economy. The team’s work has led to changes in policy, new legislation and investigations and discussions at the Capitol, in political groups and beyond — and because of our collaborative approach, people across the state are more engaged in solving the problems California is tackling. CalMatters’ awards include a regional Emmy, three back-to-back California General Excellence awards, National Headliner awards, Best of the West awards, an Eppy from Editor & Publisher for best website in the nation and the Edward R. Murrow Award.