Who We Are

Our Story

NewsBreak is the nation’s leading local news app, featuring thousands of trusted publishing partners and independent contributors. Our company started in Mountain View, California in 2015, founded by computer scientist and former Yahoo executive, Dr. Jeff Zheng. Today, we have offices in Mountain View (HQ), Seattle, and New York, as well as support teams in Shanghai and Beijing.

We strive to help people across the country rediscover the connection that comes when we collectively focus on news that’s happening in the local communities where we live, work, and play.

Some people we'd like you to meet

Wynston Alberts
Wynston
Alberts
Trust & Safety
“The trust and safety of our users is foundational, and we are focused on it 24/7.”

Wynston grew up in Roseburg, Oregon and has always been passionate about service and safety. He started his career as a teacher, went on to serve in the US Army, and eventually found his way to the tech industry where he became one of YouTube’s founding Trust and Safety members in 2006, working with Engineering and Moderation teams in a fast-changing landscape. He has also served as Director of E-commerce for Adidas Japan, and for Amazon Alexa in a Sr. Business Development position, before returning to roles in Trust & Safety with TikTok and Kuaishou. 

He received his BS from West Virginia University, where he was an All-American cross-country athlete. Wynston finished 3rd in the US national championship marathon in 2005, and speaks fluent Japanese. He relocated to the Seattle area after living in Tokyo and Singapore with his wife of 23 years, Minako and their dog-child, Luna.

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Jim Bell
Jim
Bell
Media & Strategy
“Many Americans have limited or no access to local news; this is a crisis. NewsBreak is aiming to revitalize and reinvent how people consume news that is most relevant to their daily lives.”

Jim grew up in Branford, CT and wrote for The Branford Review in high school. After graduating from Harvard, he lived in Spain where he coached football, and launched a 30-year career at NBCUniversal working on the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. At NBC, Jim successfully led some of the most iconic brands in media, including the Today Show, Tonight Show, and the Olympics. He is a 24-time Emmy award winner and has a Peabody Award for coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Jim received his BA in Political Science & Government from Harvard University. He lives in Greenwich, CT with his wife Angelique and their three dogs, Apollo, Hercules, and Athena.

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Yiyi Jin
Yiyi
Jin
Legal
“My team focuses on compliance and partnerships, ensuring NewsBreak is able to innovate and lean into our mission of helping people everywhere live safer, more vibrant, more truly connected local lives.”

Yiyi has practiced law for more than 19 years and has comprehensive experience in corporate governance and transactions, intellectual property, commercial agreements, data compliance, and risk management. 

Yiyi studied at Tongji University in Shanghai, where she was the founder of the university’s piano association and a journalist for the university newspaper. She has taken business courses at ESCP Paris, Solvay Brussels School and Manchester Metropolitan University, and has had training in commercial litigation and arbitration in Hong Kong and Frankfurt.

She lives in Foster City, California, with her husband Raphael, their two kids, and their two cats, Lola and Remy. She also serves as a PTA committee member at her local elementary school and as a senior member of the IEEE Smart Village program.

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Scott Kelliher
Scott
Kelliher
Revenue
"Giving brands of all sizes the chance to grow their businesses through truly local relevance is an enormous opportunity."

Scott grew up in Connecticut in a family of marketers, so it was no surprise when he got into advertising. He began his media career bringing some of the first ads onto mobile phones, Virgin Mobile’s pre-smartphone flip phones to be precise. Since then, he’s helped some of the largest brands and agencies on the planet—Yahoo, AOL, Time Inc., and retail media pioneer eBay—solve their biggest business challenges.

Scott’s worked on both the supply and demand sides of advertising, participating in wide-ranging content partnerships, developing new audience- and data-targeting strategies and driving new experiences with all types of ad-tech. Scott’s been on several industry boards and is a frequent speaker at media industry events. Scott received his BA in Music from Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and currently lives in NJ with his wife Sarah, their two kids, and their cat, Gus.

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Rongqing Lu
Rongqing
Lu
Technology
“I take NewsBreak’s mission to deliver timely, relevant local information personally, because our success means my family and I are better connected to our community.”

Rongqing Lu was a founding member of the NewsBreak team, originally serving as engineering lead. He currently oversees the company’s technology advisory team, providing planning, evaluation, and technical support for critical projects. He previously worked at Inktomi as a software engineer and at Yahoo! as a principal software engineer for the web-search team.

Rongqing studied at Nanjing University and has an MS in Computer Science and Engineering from Penn State University. He lives in Palo Alto, CA with his wife and two kids.

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Rongqing Lu
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Xana O'Neill
Xana
O'Neill
Content
“NewsBreak is a game-changer for the industry and people everywhere, improving and amplifying the quality of local storytelling at scale.”

Xana’s passion for storytelling started early; in high school she was a beat reporter at a local paper in Flemington, NJ, and her reportorial aspirations took her to New York City to write for the Village Voice and the New York Daily News. 

She moved to the digital side of storytelling at NBC, where she covered national news and ran a network of local lifestyle creators. At ABC, she oversaw the non-broadcast side of news, pioneering new formats with tech like VR to take audiences inside war-torn Syria and unseen North Korea.​ Her ambition to drive next-gen storytelling took her to the start-up space, to Snapchat, where she oversaw news partnerships and editorial, and finally to NewsBreak. She’s received two Emmy awards, a Murrow award and a Newswomen's Award.

Xana received her BA in journalism from New York University. She currently lives in New York City with her partner Marc and her Maltese-Yorkie, Maaloof.

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Kevin Simon
Kevin
Simon
Product & Design
“NewsBreak aims to be the top destination that people can rely on to stay informed about the local topics that matter to them.”

Kevin grew up in Toronto, Ontario and has always enjoyed building things. After beginning his career as an engineer at a couple of Silicon Valley startups, he transitioned to product management. Kevin held senior leadership roles at Ubisoft, Logitech, and LinkedIn, where he has been responsible for launching products that have benefited hundreds of millions of people. His teams have been charged with redesigning LinkedIn, growing the company internationally, and building LinkedIn Learning, amongst other objectives. Kevin joined NewsBreak to help local communities stay informed and connected at massive scale.

Kevin received his BCOM from McGill University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in San Carlos, CA with his wife Beti, his daughter Talia, along with their Lab Sandy, and many fresh and saltwater fish.

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Junhua Wang
Junhua
Wang
Engineering
“Our goal is to provide trustworthy, easily accessible information that allows individuals to discover, discuss, and react to the topics that matter most to them.”

Junhua is a veteran engineering leader with a passion for creating state-of-the-art information platforms using big data and large-scale machine learning technologies. Before joining NewsBreak in 2021, Junhua spent 20 years at Microsoft, where he held the roles of Distinguished Engineer and Vice President for the Search and AI Platform organization. During his time there, he led a team that built some of the largest and most widely used platforms in the company, including search, object storage, and deep learning platforms.

Junhua holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from New York University. He and his wife Xun reside in Bellevue, Washington with their two children. In his leisure time, Junhua enjoys reading, jogging, skiing and watching various sports. He is a firm believer in the growth mindset and empathy.

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Vincent Wu
Vincent
Wu
Business & Operations
“My ultimate goal is simple – when people think about the word ‘local’, I want them to immediately think about NewsBreak. Period.”

Vincent joined NewsBreak in 2018 and has built the largest local-publisher network in the country, launched the very first local contributor network, and is actively scaling up a unique local SMB/advertising network for the platform.

Growing up as a massive fan of local newspapers and seeing firsthand how technology had begun disrupting traditional media in the early 2000s, Vincent began his career at Accenture & Mercer helping Fortune 500 content companies embrace digital. Later, he combined his business expertise with his love of content by joining AOL, eventually becoming business chief for HuffPost, Yahoo TV, and Yahoo News. 

During this period, Vincent became an industry pioneer of data-driven & social approaches to media, successfully growing HuffPost/Yahoo into the world’s largest digital news group, with the most engaging social-media audience, serving 300MM+.

Vincent received an MBA from Tuck/Dartmouth College. He lives with his family in Cupertino, CA.

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Dr. Jeff Zheng
Dr. Jeff
Zheng
Founder
“NewsBreak is building the world’s first intelligent local-information platform, creating an entirely new ecosystem for users, publishers, creators and businesses.”

Jeff’s career has been defined by his passion to develop technology that makes information more accessible. He started at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, CA, where he spent seven years as an executive, leading technical teams, advancing the fields of web search quality, relevance, and recommendation-science for the company and the industry at large. He founded Yahoo! Labs in China, a science-driven product innovation group, which brought new mobile search and discovery products to U.S. and global markets. But Jeff wanted to have a bigger impact, so he made the leap to the mobile entrepreneurial world in China where he founded and grew a unicorn start-up. With key learnings in hand, Jeff saw a unique opportunity to reinvent local news and information, and moved back to the US to found NewsBreak. 

Jeff received his Bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University, his M.S. from the Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo. A technologist at heart, Jeff has authored many academic publications and holds U.S. patents in machine learning, information retrieval, personalized recommendation, and natural language processing.

Jeff lives in the Bay Area with his wife and daughter, Xuan and Bella and their Shiba Inu, Kubo.

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Dr. Harry Shum
Shum

Harry Shum currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of NewsBreak. He is an emeritus researcher at Microsoft Research, a professor-at-large at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and advises companies globally on their business and technology strategies. Harry was the executive vice president of AI and Research at Microsoft, spending over 23 years at the company, leading both research and product groups. Harry has a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Dr. Harry Shum
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Alan Ni
Ni

Alan Ni is a Partner at Francisco Partners. Based in San Francisco, he joined the firm in 2013. Alan currently serves on the boards of Glorious, MyHeritage, NewsBreak, NZXT, Renaissance, RugsUSA, and iconectiv. He also previously served on the boards of Aesynt and Sectigo. Alan has both B.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Michael Callahan
Callahan

Mike Callahan is the Executive Director of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance and Professor of the Practice of Law, both at Stanford University. Before entering academia, he held roles including Senior Vice President and General Counsel at LinkedIn, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Ten-X, as well as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Yahoo! Inc.

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Michael Callahan
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Sandford R. Climan
Climan

Sandy Climan is CEO of Entertainment Media Ventures, which he founded in 1999. He previously served as part of the senior management at Creative Artists Agency, representing such talent as Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Danny DeVito, and director Michael Mann. In addition, he was the founding head of CAA’s corporate practice.Throughout his career, Sandy has held senior executive roles across the entertainment industry, including Corporate Executive Vice President and President of Worldwide Business Development for Universal Studios, leadership positions in production and distribution for MGM, and serving as CEO of 3D filmmaking pioneer 3ality Digital. His productions include “U2 3D,” the first digital live-action 3D film, and “The Aviator,” starring Leonard DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe and a British Academy Award. He serves on several charitable boards, including the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the American Cinematheque.

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Eric Feng
Feng

Eric Feng is the co-founder of Web3 startup Cymbal, and a General Partner at Gold House Ventures, a multi-stage fund that supports Asian entrepreneurs. He previously led ecommerce incubations at Facebook, where he joined after leading early stage consumer investments at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Before Kleiner Perkins, Eric was the founding CTO and head of product at Hulu.

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Joshua Cooper Ramo
Ramo

Joshua Cooper Ramo is CEO and Chairman of Sornay, an investment and advisory firm. He was previously Vice Chairman and Co-CEO of Kissinger Associates, where he worked for 15 years. Ramo has served as lead China advisor on more than $250 billion of transactions across a wide range of industries. He is a member of the boards of directors of FedEx and Starbucks.

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Jerry Yang
Yang

Jerry Yang co-founded Yahoo! in 1995 with fellow Stanford graduate student David Filo and served on its board and as a member of its executive team until 2012, including as CEO from 2007 to 2009. In 2012, he founded AME Cloud Ventures, a venture innovation firm that invests in seed-stage to later-stage tech companies. Mr. Yang serves as a director on the boards of Workday Inc., Lenovo Group, and Alibaba Group. Mr. Yang serves on the Stanford University’s Board of Trustees and is the current Chair of the Board. He’s also a board member for the National Committee of US-China Relations, a member of the Brookings China Advisory Council, a member of the Committee of 100, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In May 2021 Mr. Yang joined the board of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), one of the largest philanthropic efforts to support the AAPI community.

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Jerry Yang
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