Ten Black-owned media organizations have joined forces with the Local Media Association (LMA) to launch the Fund for Black Journalism, an initiative to reimagine and support the Black press. The campaign can be found at givebutter.com/journalismfundblacknewspapers. The goal is to raise $25 million over the course of three years. At press time, it has raised $112,175.
These funds will be invested in shared services, technology, staff investment and Black news entrepreneurship. News outlets will be able to access resources like researchers that will be hired with the fund, and they will also receive stipends on a regular basis.
“If people want to know what’s going on in Black communities across the country (and) want to hear the voices and stories of Black folks, these are the folks who have the connection,” project manager Nick Charles said. “So, that’s what I think this partnership will do, show the good work and quality work and also the amplification of the voices who we sometimes don’t hear.”
He added, “What the Fund will do is allow the consortium of Black press involved to continue to elevate and amplify the voices of African Americans and people of color in the neighborhoods and cities that they serve.”
The 10 Black-owned outlets include the New York Amsterdam News, Atlanta Voice, Houston Defender Network, Washington Informer, Dallas Weekly, The Afro, Michigan Chronicle, The Seattle Medium, Sacramento Observer and St. Louis American. In the future, the initiative hopes to grow to 50 participants and invite broadcasters and digital publishers to join. As more funds are raised, more news outlets will be added.
Earlier this year, it was New York Amsterdam News publisher and editor-in-chief Elinor Ruth Tatum who thought of creating a fundraising project to support the Black press, but she found that the opportunities were slim until she approached the LMA to collaborate. The Local Media Foundation will manage the application process, distribution of funds and required IRS reporting.
In addition, the 10 outlets will publish stories based on previously selected topics including education, health, employment and income. Charles, who was recommended for project manager by Tatum, will then write a national story based on these topics, which will be published and offered to other media outlets for publication. Charles said they plan to focus on the topic of education first, specifically with how COVID-19 has impacted schools in their respective locations.
“We’ve got this network of newspapers across the country where we can share information. So, while we’re going to have these national stories, we’re also going to have these local stories that can be shared so we can see what’s going on from city to city,” Tatum said. “We’re going to be telling more than just one story. We’re going to be telling dozens of stories, and I find that really exciting.”