News One, TheGrio Join Forces

This week, NBC News (owner of theGrio)  and Interactive One (owner of News One) announced a partnership that will form the premier African-American digital news alliance with the widest audience reach in the industry. The partnership went into effect on July 1, 2011, and both companies will leverage content and advertising from both sites to create an extended platform for African-American journalism.

In a quote from NBC News President Steve Capus, “This is a smart play for both sides as we combine the best of these two platforms to enhance African-American journalism.” In a time when some African-American news outlets are still branching out to an online audience, news of this partnership means an increased opportunity for exposure and coverage of stories which matter to the African-American community. NBC is already looking to partner with local non-profit news organizations, so news of this merger could also mean the opportunity for hyperlocal coverage in communities which often aren’t represented in the media.

News One brings a number of powerful assets to this new partnership such as Radio One, Reach Media, Interactive One and TV One. Radio One has 53 member radio stations in 16 urban markets across the United States. Reach Media is owned by philanthropist and radio host Tom Joyner, who’s daily radio show reaches an audience of eight million listeners. Interactive One is News One’s digital outreach arm; it has more than 15 million members and includes websites like HelloBeautiful, Elev8, and BlackPlanet, one of the web’s first social networks. TV One is a cable/satellite television network founded in 2004 with original and syndicated programming for African-American adults and is available in over 38 million homes according to a Nielsen 2007 estimate.

2012 Presidental Election coverage will prove to be the watershed moment for this new partnership. TV One has won a Best Practices Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for their 2009 Democratic National Convention and Election Night coverage, and NBC has recently announced a new “NBC News: Decision 2012” content offering in conjunction with their partnership with award-winning visual news reader Pulse.

It will be interesting to see how this partnership plays out in the coming months, especially with regards to election coverage and increased coverage of African-American news in local communities. What do you want to see happen from this new partnership? Leave your thoughts in the comments.