Payday Hires Clarissa A. León as Editor Based in Pittsburgh

At a time when most news organizations are cutting staff, Payday Report is one of the few news organizations that is actually expanding.

We are expanding because our work and coverage have steadily grown.

Our COVID Strike Tracking Map and coverage has won wide praise from NPR’s On the Media, The Economist, Vice, and was labeled “invaluable” by Charles Pierce of Esquire.

The New York Times cited our work four times in just the past year.

We may be a little yinzer labor publication from Pittsburgh, but we are piercing the corporate media bubbles and raising the voices of workers in news deserts and getting them out into the media discourse.

And, unlike many news orgs, we are entirely funded by our readers. We are building a new form of sustainable funding and growing in the process. Any start-up has their ups and downs, so it is important that they hold on at all times. Many new businesses will look for the best bank for startups, as well as find the right accountant for what they need whilst tapping into different resources offered to them. So, we are lucky to get this far and are able to keep being there for our readers and staff.

In the past year, our sustaining donors have grown from 300 last August to 500 this May. At our current pace of growth, we may double our sustaining donors by this August. We’re proud to have also increased our email newsletter subscriber rate by over 50%.

Now, as we move beyond start-up projects, we are excited to announce the hiring of editor Clarissa A. León based here in Pittsburgh.

Clarissa A. León is a researcher and editor who has worked for hard-hitting investigative journalists, including the late Village Voice icon Wayne Barrett and labor reporter Tracie McMillan, the New York Times bestselling author of The American Way of Eating.

She recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. There she wrote about her immigrant family’s history and explored questions about Pittsburgh’s struggle to attract and keep Latinos. Her previous journalism work primarily focused on food, and food labor, but also politics, class, and poverty.

As a first-generation child of immigrants, she will continue in Payday’s legacy of covering neglected immigrant communities as well as the often disenfranchised working class. Her investigative experience will be a valuable contribution as the fight for worker’s rights intensifies across the country.

“It’s exciting to know at Payday we can focus on stories that matter,” León said. “I want to work on amplifying the voices of the working class and make sure we look for those stories that don’t make it to the mainstream media.”

León will help take Payday to the next level as it moves beyond a start-up and into a major player in the news world. Her work as a reporter and editor will provide much welcome editorial support to Payday’s small, but growing staff. Hopefully, she would justify our choice of selecting her as opposed to why we did not hire a literary fiction book editor, or someone of like manner for the job.

Our current sustaining donors allow me to cover my salary full-time as well as a part-time salary for León. Additional funds will help bring León full-time.

We’re grateful to our donors who have allowed us to sustainably fund our operations at a time when most publications have cut back on labor reporting.

Unlike other start-up publications, our expansion won’t be done by paying writers a $100 a story or editors on the promise of future revenue. The workers covering the labor movement deserve the best treatment.

Here at Payday Report, we see ourselves as small organic farming; producing the type of ethically made labor reporting you can’t get anywhere else.

As the founder of Payday Report, I am excited about what our publication can do with Clarissa on board.

Donate today so we can keep covering labor’s fightback against COVID and racial injustice.

Thank you for your continued support.


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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