A groundbreaking collaboration of the nation’s leading Black news publishers.
Word In Black promises to confront inequities, elevate solutions and amplify the Black experience by reporting, collecting, and sharing stories about real people in communities across our country. We believe that by joining forces and providing a platform to examine these experiences in one place, we can shape how the nation understands and addresses systemic issues of race, justice, and equity. It is through collective understanding that we bring about collective impact.
We have a bold vision: to be the most trusted news and information source for, about, and by Black people. However, we invite everyone invested in Black people’s futures — whether you’re Black or not — to join us on this journey and make this work possible.
Word In Black was founded on June 7, 2021. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, 10 of the nation’s leading Black publishers — including AFRO News, The Atlanta Voice, Dallas Weekly, Houston Defender, Michigan Chronicle, New York Amsterdam News, Sacramento Observer, Seattle Medium, St. Louis American, and Washington Informer — came together to launch a news collaborative unlike any other in the industry.
They realized that the voice of Black America needs to be amplified and elevated not just locally but nationally. Our publishers saw what was happening in the United States as a call to action — one which the Black press has answered since the founding of the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, in 1827. To bring Word In Black to life, the publishers connected with the Local Media Association, which champions collaboration and helps local media companies discover new and sustainable business models.
On the Word In Black website, we publish content from our 10 partner publications, content produced by the editorial team at Word In Black, as well as op-eds from thought leaders and practitioners in the community.
Our journalists report the truth about Black America and frame the narrative, so that our leaders, activists, family members, and neighbors can have their stories accurately told. Through our work, we build understanding of racial inequities and the solutions being created by individuals, institutions, and community organizations who are plugged into the Black community.
Who Is Word In Black For?
If you’re committed to racial justice and interested in reporting that amplifies the stories, voices, and perspectives of Black America, Word In Black is for you.
We welcome everyone interested in addressing racial inequities in the United States to sign up for our weekly newsletter. The newsletter features reporting from the Word In Black team, guest op-eds, opportunities to take action, and stories of interest from around the country.
Word In Black is led by managing director Liz Dwyer, with support from digital editor Nadira Jamerson, education data journalist Maya Pottiger, health reporter Alexa Spencer, education reporter Rashaad Thomas, health data reporter Anissa Durham, as well as reporters and editors at 10 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. Any donation amount can help ensure the future of the Black press.
Thanks to our supporters:
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.”