The Atlanta Voice was selected among 19 other publishers of color to participate in the Facebook Journalism Project’s Sustainability Accelerator program.

The Accelerator will run from mid-October through early 2021, followed by a six-month period to execute on specific grant-funded initiatives (grants are distributed by the International Center for Journalists). As organizations go through the program, Facebook and ICFJ will share case studies about their projects so that other newsrooms can learn from their experiences.

“We are honored to partner with this impressive group of publishers, whose newsrooms make a difference in their communities and serve as models for our industry,” said Joyce Barnathan, the president of ICFJ, an organization with global experience helping news media become stronger financially. “Without question, the work they do is critical, and an investment in their long-term success is an investment in stronger communities.”

Over the course of the Accelerator, the 20 news organizations will engage in intensive training sessions around the essentials of building a sustainable media business; one-to-one coaching with an industry expert, as well as be eligible for grant support to implement new strategies.

The group was selected by Facebook staff, ICFJ staff, and Accelerator coaches from more than 300 applications from around the United States based on their demonstrated impact on their community, their commitment to the program’s requirements, and their readiness to pursue their biggest business opportunities.

“I am excited about the amazing media organizations that will be joining this inaugural Sustainability Accelerator,” said Sara Lomax-Reese, President of WURD Radio in Philadelphia and program lead for this Accelerator program. “We are in a moment when Black- and Brown-owned and led media is absolutely essential to the future of this nation. This is an opportunity to provide skills and resources to help these organizations continue to grow, innovate, and lead.”

Janis L. Ware, the publisher of The Atlanta Voice, said she was excited for the 55-year-old publication to be selected as part of the Accelerator and looks forward to her team navigating the program and sharing ideas with other publishers of color.

“Being selected as a participant of this Accelerator couldn’t have come at a more exciting time,” Ware said. “With everything that is at stake with this year’s historic elections and the dual pandemics that people of color are facing, protecting local news is more important than ever. For Facebook and the International Center for Journalists to be investing in this program and our publications, we are appreciative and thrilled!”

The publishers participating in the Accelerator include:
  • Black Voice News, a nearly fifty-year old newspaper based in Riverside, California that has made great strides in its digital transformation and is owned by the second generation of the founding family.
  • Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, a watchdog group of veteran investigative reporters based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the only entity of its kind in the Caribbean. The organization recently earned the support of the American Journalism Project to support its growth.
  • The Community Voice of Wichita is Kansas’ only Black newspaper, growing from the Wichita community to a statewide entity over the last 25 years.
  • El Mundo Boston, a nearly 50-year old news organization making the transition to a digitally-focused news operation for the Latinx community of the greater Boston area.
  • Flint Beat, a digitally native publisher from Flint, Michigan, notable for its tenacity, solutions journalism work and its collaborative efforts with the publisher’s readership.
  • Hola Carolina, the sole major Spanish-language news outlet for the Western North Carolina region, has extensively covered the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and has played a key role in organizing distribution of PPE to the community.
  • Indian Country Today, a nationally-followed news organization with a base in Arizona, airs a weekday newscast through the FNX network and Arizona PBS, the only major broadcast focused on news for indigenous Americans.
  • La Raza Chicago, the city’s largest Spanish-language paper, has been serving its community for over 50 years and is working to pivot its business model to more fully capture its digital potential.
  • Lakota Times of South Dakota has built a reputation of incredible journalism covering the Lakota community in South Dakota and across the country over its fifteen years.
  • NextShark, one of the largest online destinations for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, reaching an audience of up to 15 million people per week on social media.
  • Outlier Media fills critical information gaps for low-income Detroiters and provides a model for how local newsrooms can reliably and efficiently serve the needs of these news consumers. The Outlier approach has inspired several similar efforts in other cities across the country.
  • PRISM, a national digitally native outlet whose staff is entirely composed of people of color, PRISM provides community members with concrete entry points for where they can better understand and participate in efforts toward necessary social change.
  • PushBlack reaches more than 9 million Black Americans across a variety of digital efforts including news, history and finance content delivered on Facebook messenger and its Black History Year podcast.
  • Rafu Shimpo, founded by Japanese students in 1903, has a storied history of providing Japanese-Americans in the Los Angeles area with quality local news.
  • Sahan Journal’s reporting centers on the immigrant and refugee experience in Minnesota from its base in Minneapolis, helping young journalists of color and people of immigrant backgrounds to develop as storytellers and authors.
  • St. Louis American, closing in on its 100th birthday, is a community institution in its region with extensive partnerships that will help it transition its already successful business into its next chapter.
  • The Atlanta Voice is transitioning from the Atlanta area’s most significant Black newspaper into a truly multimedia news organization, from revamping its digital business model to investing in new production facilities that will allow it to deliver news and information Black Atlantans and others have come to rely on over the last 55 years.
  • The Charlotte Post has kept Black residents in Charlotte informed for over 100 years and is focused on revamping its businesses to make further staff and technological investments.
  • The Miami Times, the South’s largest black newspaper, is a nearly 100-year old family-owned operation that recently transferred to its next generation of leadership.
  • The Tennessee Tribune has brought the diverse, multi-faceted Black community of Nashville to life each week for the last 30 years. The newspaper is ready to improve its digital presence and develop a more comprehensive video strategy.
(Photo: Facebook Journalism Project)

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