6 strategies for growing partnerships in the Black community from The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer


Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use several approaches, including audience roundtables, mobile newsrooms and source audits, to rebuild trust and engage with the Black community, whose achievements have often been ignored or downplayed by local news organizations.

Question: What problem were you trying to solve, and why was it strategically important to your organization?

Answer: As a more than 200-year-old institution, The Fayetteville Observer hasn’t always done right by Black residents in its coverage area. 

In some cases — publishing advertisements for enslaved people — we’ve contributed to actual harm. Other examples over the decades include focusing on crime coverage while downplaying or ignoring achievements and other aspects of life within the Black community. 

As our area grows in diversity, we knew deepening and broadening our engagement with Black residents was not only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, but also a smart thing to do if we wanted to continue to grow our readership.

To that end, we came up with a challenge statement that we felt perfectly encapsulated our goals: We will strive to earn the trust of Black residents, whom we’ve neglected in the past, by providing essential news, content and experiences that are worth paying for and useful in their lives.

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