Ten of the nation’s most progressive, Black-owned media publishers have united to launch a news site focused on issues of and solutions to systemic racial inequities.
At a time when issues around systemic racial inequities are more pronounced and prominent, solutions are needed more than ever and the Black-owned press is stepping up to be that platform where much-needed voices can be heard.
Word in Black will frame the narrative and take a solutions-based approach to the news of the day. The reporting will be data-driven and national in focus with tie-ins to local markets, where our 10 publishers are trusted and respected citizens.
The first topic-based project launched in the fourth quarter of 2020, and focused on the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 education in African American communities. That work will continue through the end of 2021, thanks to funding from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and previously the Walton Family Foundation.
Future projects will include deep dives into a wide range of issues including, but not limited to, voter suppression, policing reform, health disparities and the ever-widening wealth gap.
We welcome everyone interested in addressing racial inequities in the United States to sign up for our weekly newsletter (LINK HERE). The newsletter will feature guest essays, opportunities to take action and stories of interest from around the country.
Word in Black is led by national journalist Nick Charles, with support from Maya Pottiger, a data journalist, reporters and editors at ten of the leading Black-owned media properties in the U.S., and a team of subject-matter experts from Local Media Foundation (LMF). LMF is a 501 (c)(3) organization focused on helping local media companies reinvent business models for news. LMF serves as the manager and fiscal sponsor of Word in Black.
Word in Black relies on financial support from the public, charitable foundations and philanthropists. If you believe in our mission, please consider making a donation.
Thanks to our supporters:
Facebook, Google, Walton, CZI, LMA, LMC
Meet the publishers
Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.
The AFRO-American Newspaper (the AFRO), with offices in Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C., is the longest continuously running family-owned newspaper in the United States and was rated by Nielsen as the nation’s #1 Black newspaper. For 128 years, The AFRO has acknowledged, celebrated and preserved African-American history and is the premier source of information for our communities locally and globally.
For more than 50 years, The Atlanta Voice has ably provided a voice for the voiceless without fear or favor and is proud to continue its legacy as a voice for those who still need a platform to plead their causes. It is the largest audited African American community newspaper in Georgia with over 600 distribution locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, with digital distribution on www.theatlantavoice.com, email, social and mobile apps. The Atlanta Voice has continued to evolve as it redefines, redirects and refocuses its efforts to better connect with the community it serves.
Continuously published, without missing a single issue for more than 60 years, the Dallas Weekly has emerged as the leading most trusted voice of the African American community in north Texas. The Dallas Weekly has been recognized and awarded for its impactful journalistic excellence not only locally, but also statewide, regionally and nationally; more than any other Black owned media enterprise of its kind in the area.
Houston is home to nearly 1 million Blacks. It is consistently ranked as one of the top ten cities based on median household income, households earning more than $100,000 annually, business ownership, college graduates and homeowners. Additionally, we have the lowest unemployment and home loan rejection rates. From 1930 to today, the Defender has served the Houston area as a trusted and credible source of information.
The Michigan Chronicle is a news, information, and events company that covers the interests of the African American community. Leaders and readers in metropolitan Detroit look to the Michigan Chronicle to stay informed about issues that impact their lives. As the voice of the community for more than 80 years, we take great pride in having access to the grassroots community as well as connections and established relationships with influencers and opinion leaders.
New York, NY
The New York Amsterdam News was started more than a century ago, in 1909, with a $10 investment. It has gone on to become one of the most important Black newspapers in the country and today remains one of the most influential Black-owned and -operated media businesses in the nation, if not the world. While the Amsterdam News is “The New Black View,” it remains keenly aware and respectful of the fact that it serves an increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic community in New York and beyond.
Established in 1962, The Sacramento Observer has been one of the most decorated publications in the history of the Black Press. Over the course of its history, The Observer has received nearly 700 national, regional and local awards for journalism excellence and community service. The Observer has constantly challenged itself to evolve and deliver educational, empowering and enlightening information to its steady-growing audience through a variety of products. Over the last 35 years, Sacramento’s Black community has grown by more than 250 percent, blossoming into one of the most important markets in the nation.
“We produce and distribute the publications of choice that residents of the Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland areas read to stay informed regarding issues and events that affect and enhance the quality of life in the African American and minority communities.”
St. Louis, MO
The only local African-American newspaper continuously published since 1928, distributed at more than 845 locations, and the longest continuously published weekly newspaper in the St. Louis area, The St. Louis American newspaper has emerged as the single largest weekly newspaper in the entire state of Missouri (now distributing 60,000 print copies every Thursday).
“Now published by Denise Rolark Barnes, The Washington Informer Newspaper Co. Inc. is a multimedia organization founded on Oct. 16, 1964, by Dr. Calvin Rolark, in order to highlight positive images of African Americans. We continue to only do positive news, as we strive to EDUCATE, EMPOWER, and INFORM.”
Meet the Staff
Nick Charles is a writer/editor and communications executive. He has written and reported for and served as editor to various digital and legacy media at the local and national level including The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, OH, People magazine and AOL Black Voices. He’s currently the Managing Director for Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned newspapers and online properties.
Chief Content and Collaboration Officer
Andrew serves as the Local Media Association’s Chief Content and Collaboration Officer. He’s is a multiple Emmy Award winner with more than 20 years of global experience in creative, content and production. Ramsammy’s career efforts in public media have resulted in more than $5.5 million in sponsorship revenue.
Before joining LMA, Ramsammy has served as director of digital content for Global Sport Matters, a media enterprise at Arizona State University; director of audience strategy for Arizona PBS; executive director of United Public Strategies; director of content projects and initiatives at Public Radio International; and was executive producer of the hit Texas PBS travel show, The Daytripper. Andrew is based in Scottsdale, AZ.
Maya Pottiger is a data journalist and independent contractor for Word in Black. She was previously a data journalist for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she earned both her BA and Master of Journalism. Her work has been featured in publications across the country.