The First Black Media Initiative Bridge Project: Audience Revenue Cohort


Six Black-led newsrooms from across the U.S. have been selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of the Black Media Initiative Bridge Project: Audience Revenue. The six-month program provides technology and design support for Black publishers looking to launch an audience revenue campaign.

The selected newsrooms are both traditional print media and digital-first organizations and represent communities all over the country from Maryland, Mississippi, Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee and New York.

“I am thrilled to announce this cohort. Audience revenue can provide a sustainable source of income for Black media outlets, allowing them to continue producing meaningful content with less reliance on traditional sources of funding,” said Cheryl Thompson-Morton, director of the Black Media Initiative.

She added: “Audience revenue for Black media provides a unique opportunity to empower Black voices and stories. By giving readers the chance to directly support Black media, we can create a more equitable system of media production, one in which Black journalists are given the resources they need to tell their stories.”

The chosen publishers will launch a subscription, membership or donation campaign in 10 weeks and receive ongoing support throughout the six-month program at no cost to their organization. These newsrooms will also be able to harness technical, analytic, and messaging support and expertise.

Made possible by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Bridge Project is also being supported by Upside AnalyticsGet Current StudioNews Revenue HubPoool and SimpleCirc.

Meet the 2023 cohort: 

  • The Jackson Advocate is among the oldest continuously published Black-owned and operated newspapers in the United States. Since 1938, it has served as “The Voice of Black Mississippians.” While informing its audience about local, national, and global issues affecting their lives, The Jackson Advocate records readers’ histories of challenges, sacrifices, and triumphs and advocates for social justice. DeAnna Tisdale Johnson, publisher, will participate in the program.
  • Harlem World Magazine helps readers live their best life and style around the block and around the world. Harlem World Magazine shares stories that celebrate the community’s way of life in the Harlem neighborhood of NYC. The brand has global digital reach and national distribution of its print products. Danny Tisdale, publisher, will participate in the program.
  • Denver Urban Spectrum is an award winning monthly publication based in Denver, Colorado, that has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. It is supported by advertising dollars, donations and event sponsorship but adding an audience revenue strategy would be a big boost to the newsroom’s growing operations. Brittany Winkfield, transition coordinator, will participate in the program.
  • The New Tri-State Defender is the home for news, entertainment and information specifically focused on the African-American community in Greater Memphis and beyond. It is the oldest African-American-owned newspaper company in the tri-state area of Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. Latasha Jackson, administrative assistant, will participate in the program.
  • Bloc By Block News is a media cooperative owned by readers and news producers. The outlet is helping Marylanders make informed decisions in communities through its newsletter, social media and mobile app. Kevon Paynter, executive director and co-founder, will participate in the program.
  • The Cleveland Observer is an information and resource hub that engages, educates and empowers Cleveland’s urban communities. The news outlet reports on relevant topics through timely news updates, effective content communications, collaboration with partners and efficient programming. Ron Calhoun, publisher, will participate in the program.


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