We at the OptOut Media Foundation are thrilled to announce the first news curators for our independent media app.

Curators will choose articles, podcasts, and videos to highlight in the app's main feed multiple times per day. Unlike most corporate news apps and social media companies, we have no algorithms and no ads. Instead, our carefully selected, diverse curation team will feature the most important content from our network of fully independent media outlets, not the content that will generate the most clicks and interactions in order to boost ad revenue.

Our team of experienced journalists reflects a diversity of life experiences that's essential for an honest and meaningful look at the news, something that's sorely missing from the corporate media. The OptOut Media Foundation is a charity that is committed to racial, social, environmental, and economic justice, and we believe that by promoting the important work of independent publications in the OptOut network with guidance from our curation team, we will all be working towards a better future.

To put the curation in context, you can also create your own personal news feed by following as many outlets and individual journalists as you like in our network. This way, you'll have two feeds to choose from whenever you open the app.

Meet the Team!

Thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation and your small donations, we were able to hire two curators, who will begin early next year when we release the iPhone app to the public.

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We are excited to introduce you to these fantastic journalists and leaders!

Jacqueline Keeler

Jacqueline is a Diné/Ihanktonwan author, journalist, and activist who is editor-in-chief of Pollen Nation Magazine, an OptOut participant. She is the author of Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands and editor of Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears. She is a contributor to TeleSUR English, The Nation, Quartz, Yes! Magazine, Salon, The Daily Beast, and many other news publications.


Cierra Hinton

Cierra is the executive director-publisher at Scalawag, a Southern, movement journalism organization and OptOut participant, and a member of Blue Engine Collaborative. She loves building with teams and individuals as they drive toward outcomes that matter in a way that is inclusive and authentic. Cierra has been an individual giving officer at a number of education nonprofits. Fundraising is another manifestation of Cierra’s life purpose: as a capacity builder, it is her personal mission to find, gather, and distribute resources to people who share her identities and have been historically disinherited, namely Black, Indigenous, queer, women- and femme-identifying people, and folks from rural and low-income communities.

Cierra is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and calls North Carolina home.


In addition to these two paid positions, the OptOut app will be curated by:

Maria Bustillos

Maria is a media pioneer, having founded Popula, an alternative news and culture magazine and OptOut participant, and The Brick House Cooperative, a publishing platform designed, owned, and operated by journalists. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the New Yorker, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, the Times Literary Supplement, ESPN, Bloomberg, VICE, Gawker, The Awl, and elsewhere. She writes the public editor column for MSNBC at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Maria is a director of the OptOut Media Foundation.


Alex Kotch

Alex is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been following the money in politics at independent outlets for nearly a decade. He helped launch Sludge, a nonprofit money-in-politics news site and an OptOut participant, and he is currently senior investigative reporter and editor at the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog that investigates corruption and an OptOut participant.

Alex co-founded OptOut and is executive director and treasurer of the OptOut Media Foundation.


Walker Bragman

Walker is co-founder of OptOut, a director of the OptOut Media Foundation, and a reporter for The Daily Poster, an OptOut participant run by veteran journalist David Sirota. His work has been published by The Intercept, Jacobin, and Sludge, among other publications. He is also a J.D. and cartoonist.


Alex and Walker have been sending you OptOut newsletters since August 2020 and are co-hosts of Gilded Age, a podcast about the giant inequalities of today.

As we expand, we plan to hire more curators. In the meantime, beta testing will begin very soon for the iOS app!

Thank you for all of your support over the last 15 months. We could not have built this app and this independent news network without your donations and your interest in OptOut's mission. We are about to enter the next phase, and we're grateful that you'll be there with us.

To help us hire more curators and OptOut staff for 2022, please make a tax-deductible donation today!