Rosa Trieu / Truthdig
Truthdig co-founder and publisher Zuade Kaufman is the only woman publisher of serious political news on the West Coast, and her core values are reflected in the site’s content and choice of writers. Truthdig has proven that it is possible to be a source of serious and intellectually rigorous journalism on the Web. Its work has been honored with numerous critical awards including seven Webby awards and eleven Los Angeles Press Club awards.
Zuade’s love of journalism began as a child, inspired by her father who was a prolific consumer of news. Early on, she thought she would make her impact through documentary films and earned a bachelor’s degree in film theory and criticism from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She started her career at Los Angeles PBS station KCET but then an opportunity arose to work on a film in France and she spent six years there.
Returning to Los Angeles, Zuade was first a researcher then a reporter for the Los Angeles Times Westside Weekly and Our Times editions where she worked with Robert Scheer. Deciding journalism was her future, she returned to school and earned an MA in journalism from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. Here she saw the potential of online news and developed her first Web news site as a graduate project. She followed this with a course in publishing at Stanford University.
Convinced the future of journalism was online, in November 2005 she renewed her working relationship with Robert Scheer and together they founded Truthdig, a news website dedicated to bringing the best print values to the web. They have created an online journalism magazine with independent, well written and well edited stories by a team of professional reporters and editors.
“A media outlet that is free to dig deeper; to ask the questions that remain unasked; to raise the issues that remain hidden; to bring attention to the stories that remain invisible. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” Zuade says.
With Truthdig achieving acclaim and readership, today Zuade is turning her attention to developing innovative ways to sustain serious journalism on the Web. One of her recent initiatives, funded by NoVo Foundation, is publishing stories by women journalists from throughout the world who have been honored with Courage in Journalism awards by the International Women’s Media Foundation. The program also has a mentoring component for young women journalists. She established and is president of the Future of Journalism Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks ideas to financially sustain online journalism and she has set up a Truthdig fund at Tides Foundation to receive tax deductible contributions.
Zuade is an Ambassador for the Los Angeles County Music Center, a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Walt Disney Concert Hall, former board member of ACLU and Human Rights Watch, and active in the Los Angeles advisory group for the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has a son, Donald, who is a musician and writer.