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. 

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.

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
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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