WHO WE ARE

Underscore supports in-depth reporting in Oregon and beyond. We encourage and aim to produce impactful, revelatory stories that might otherwise go unreported and unheard, with a special focus on Indian Country and other marginalized coverage areas. We are funded by grants and donations from organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of independent journalism.

Mission Statement

Underscore produces collaborative journalism framed by justice to promote civic engagement and a fair-minded society.

About Us

How We Got Our Start

Underscore.news is, by design, a small public service reporting team based in Portland, Oregon. We expand and contract depending on our funding and the partnerships and collaborations we share with other journalists and media. 

Underscore.news got its start as the Oregon reporting team for InvestigateWest. In 2019, we became a standalone and locally managed nonprofit. We publish original and independent reporting with a specialty of Indian Country. Our reporting is framed by equity—who is not being heard and why. This philosophy guides all of our coverage.

More than 100 people—journalists, friends, donors—joined Underscore.news in October 2019 to celebrate our nonprofit newsroom. Nicole Charley, Taixpum and Wascupum, Citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, led with a land acknowledgement, and Don Motanic, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, gave a blessing. Photo by Randall Garcia for Underscore.news  

It Takes an Investment

Starting a news organization is no cinch. Underscore.news was kicked into gear with core funding from Meyer Memorial Trust, The American Journalism Project and Many Dances Family Fund. Our operational model is to maintain a small newsroom that delivers the most impact by bridging the gap between underreported communities and rural, tribal and legacy media newsrooms in Oregon.

Underscore is committed to providing the greatest amplification of people and issues through our formal and informal partnerships with other Oregon media. At no charge, we offer our coverage for digital reposting, print and broadcast so that our stories are shared widely and broadly. When possible, we approach our work from a position of strength, power and solutions, rather than deficit. Our Indian Country reporting is grounded in historical context and aims to provide a better understanding of sovereignty and treaty rights.

Walking the Walk

There is clearly a need for this work. Newsrooms are closing at an alarming rate, leaving many communities without the news and information they need to thrive. Underscore’s stories focus on elevating underrepresented voices to foster conversation, interrupt stereotypes, untangle complex issues and promote a better understanding of one another. Our goal is to reinforce equity, especially in our own newsroom and how we cover the news and provide information. We are conscious of the importance of systems change and approach our coverage with an eye to disrupt the balance of power in traditional American systems, including media, that do not serve our country with either equity or fairness.