This is what passes for a "team photo" in the age of social distancing. From L to R: Emma Freer, Stephanie Schwartz, Katharine P. Jose, Mark Dewey. Not pictured, Rich Oppel (self-isolating) and Karen Brooks Harper (wasn't hired yet). (Photo by Andrew Morley)

Welcome to A year in the making, we're a new voice in Austin's media landscape.

Austonia is an authentic, locally owned online news company that's here to report exclusively on what's happening in our city. Austin people. Austin stories.

Austin is a place unlike any other, and that unique space is where Austonia lives.

We'll bring you original reporting from our own team, including:

  • Katharine Jose, our managing editor
  • Emma Freer, Stephanie Schwartz, and Karen Brooks Harper, our reporters
  • Rich Oppel, our editorial advisor

We'll also bring you the best of what other media are reporting in Austin. Each of us has covered the city for other media outlets, and we look forwarding to highlighting the work of our many friends, all of whom are doing outstanding work and rallying in this crisis.

Because of the need for community information as the COVID-19 crisis emerged, we put our detailed plans on the shelf and launched early, to begin bringing you coverage immediately.

Why are we doing this? It's all about the journalism. We're a for profit company, but we're chartered as a public benefit corporation. Our chartered purpose is "building community through digital media." That's why we're here.

We're only taking ads from companies that are part of Austin's culture. No programmatic (internet) ads. No clickbait. No non-relevant sponsors. No paywall, either. Over time, you'll see many of your favorite Austin brands.

You'll notice a "talk bubble" in our logo. That's because we're listening. We want to shape our coverage according to what's on your mind. It's at the core of what we think makes us unique and valuable.

Our best to you, your loved ones, and our entire community in this difficult time.

Mark Dewey, Publisher