Model & Strategy

The Problem
Visual storytellers play a vital role in keeping people informed, promoting community awareness, encouraging civic engagement, and leading change as visionaries. Yet, visual storytellers – photographers and visual journalists – are often the most underinvested part of newsrooms, and the negative consequences of a declining local news industry are wide and far-reaching. Communities without access to a local news outlet face an increased likelihood of polarization and misinformation, and the demise of local newspapers is linked to a rise in local corruption and lower civic participation. There is an urgent need to reinvigorate visual journalism so communities around the nation can access the information needed, where and how they actually currently consume information in a form they are fluent in, to make informed decisions and preserve democracy.

The Solution
CatchLight is a visual-first media organization leveraging the power of visual storytelling to inform, connect, and transform communities. To revitalize visual journalism in newsrooms, CatchLight employs and places high-quality photojournalists in local newsrooms through their CatchLight LocalVisual Journalism Initiative, composed of a collaborative visual desk offering shared visual resources – including editing, visual strategy, and infrastructure. They also feature full time staff visual journalist positions through their Local Fellowship program, adding capacity to newsrooms without visual staff. In addition to the Local program, CatchLIght Global Fellowship awards three visionaries in the field grants to develop long-form storytelling projects, engage audiences, and continue their work as innovators and leaders defining the future of the field.

By the end of 2026, CatchLight will expand its Visual Desk capabilities and will have three to five regional desks staffed with two to four experienced editors and photojournalists. Each Visual Desk will serve 15-25 newsroom partners, reaching a total of 90-100 newsrooms per year.

At a Glance
Founded: 2011
Civic Engagement
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, South Central
San Francisco, CA
Leveraging the power of images to inform, connect, and transform communities.
Meet Elodi Mailliet Storm

Elodie is a recognized creative and business leader in the visual storytelling space. She joined CatchLight as CEO in 2019. In 2016, Elodie was named a JSK fellow in media innovation at Stanford University where she researched the monetization of photography in the age of social and search. During her 11 years at Getty Images, she oversaw and helped build Getty Images’ content offering and helped lead its strategic development. Elodie was Getty Images’ Senior Director of Strategic Development based in the Bay Area focusing on Getty Images’ relationships with platforms such as Google, Instagram, Pinterest and Airbnb.


Over the next three to four years, CatchLight will partner closely with 90 to 100 local newsrooms, with an estimated readership of nearly 1 million people.

The CatchLight Global Fellowship program has recognized 20 globally acclaimed innovators in visual storytelling with awards totaling $600,000.