Facebook Journalism Project Unveils Sustainability Accelerator Participants

10 of the 20 are Black-owned, Black-led publishers

The program is being funded by part of Facebook’s $5 million investment in publishers that serve historically marginalized communities Facebook Journalism Project

Facebook Journalism Project revealed the 20 organizations that will participate in its Sustainability Accelerator program, which provides intensive training in essentials to building a sustainable media business.

The program is being funded by part of Facebook’s $5 million investment in publishers that serve historically marginalized communities.

Participants were chosen by Facebook staff, International Center for Journalists staff and coaches, from the more than 200 applications submitted in the U.S., based on demonstrated impact on their communities, commitment to the program’s requirements and readiness to pursue their biggest business opportunities.

Facebook Journalism Project offered more details on the participants:

  • One-half of the group is made up of Black-owned, Black-led publishers, from some of the nation’s oldest Black newspapers to digitally native organizations.
  • 80% of the participants focus on local news.
  • Two-thirds are from the Midwest or South, which have historically received less investment than their colleagues on the coasts.
  • Just over one-half are for-profit organizations.

The program will run from mid-October through early 2020, followed by a six-month period to executive on specific grant-funded initiatives.

The Sustainability Accelerator program is being led by:

  • Executive director Tim Griggs
  • Scalawag Magazine executive director Cierra Hinton
  • Anita Li, an audience and engagement instructor at the Newmark Graduate School at CUNY
  • National Association of Hispanic Journalists executive director Alberto B. Mendoza
  • Program lead Sara Lomax-Reese of WURD Radio in Philadelphia
  • Institute for Nonprofit News chief knowledge officer Fran Scarlett
  • Coach and consultant Ryan Tuck

And the participants, with descriptions courtesy of Facebook Journalism project, are:

  • Black Voice News, a nearly 50-year old newspaper based in Riverside, Calif., 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.
  • Community Voice of Wichita is Kansas’ only Black newspaper, growing from the Wichita community to a statewide entity over the past 20 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, Mich., 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 personal protective equipment 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 15 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 Messenger From Facebook 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, N.C., 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, multifaceted Black community of Nashville, Tenn., to life each week for the past 30 years. The newspaper is ready to improve its digital presence and develop a more comprehensive video strategy.


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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