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Black media has never looked so good.

The John C. and James L. Knight Foundation recently announced an investment of more than $ 4 million over the next three years to help local color publishers stay great and become more financially sustainable. The investment is a continuation of Knight’s many years of support for diverse communities, aligned with Knight’s strategy to help journalists, publishers and newsrooms build trust, reach diverse audiences and generate sustainable return models.

Knight’s investments include the BloomLab Knight x LMA program, which is expanding to invest $ 1.3 million in 26 local news owned by blacks, including the Michigan Chronicle.

“The Knight x LMA BloomLab is an exciting three-year experience working with 26 local black media outlets, including the Michigan Chronicle as part of the Word in Black network. Thank you to the Knight Foundation and the Local Media Association for investing in sustainability, ”said Hiram Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle.

Another Knight investment is the startup network Capital B and URL Media, as well as the Gwen Iphil International Women’s Media Foundation’s mentoring program to increase the diversity of editorial leadership.

Knight x LMA BLOOM Laboratory at the Local Media Association ($ 3.2 million) to increase its successful lab for black-owned media to include 26 publishers over the next three years. The Lab is a digital transformation program that helps its first five participating newspapers more than triple their digital revenue from assessment, teaching and learning. Each newsroom will receive $ 50,000 to support its work. Knight’s investment has allowed the lab led by LMA Director of Content and Collaboration Andrew Rams and LMA Chief Operating Officer Jay Small to hire three full-time staff to support the lab, including: Robert Walker-Smith, Director of Digital Revenue; April Piloli, CTO; and will soon be named program director / coach. According to the press release, they will provide expert advice on smart technical and digital business strategies, and then directly allocate funds to support the further transformation of these publications.

BloomLab Knight x LMA is an additional element of the LMA Digital Transformation Lab for Black Publishers, which was launched in early 2019, the press release added. This lab helps in boosting digital revenue and audience growth, and launches new products, such as newsletters, for five black publishers.

The new lab will include three full-time staff who will work with publishers on a daily basis. The entire Local Media Association / Local Media Foundation team will also participate in BloomLab as experts on topics in areas such as reader revenue, brand content, charity funding and more.

The lab will start with 10 publishers who make up The word is in blackincluding The Atlanta Voice, New York Amsterdam News, Houston Defender, Washington Informer, St. Louis American, AFRO News, Seattle Medium, Sacramento Observer, Michigan Chronicle and Dallas Weekly.

Applications for the second cohort of eight publishers will open in the spring of 2022. The third cohort will be announced in the first quarter of 2023. All local black media outlets are invited to apply.

“These investments show the importance of ongoing support for color publishers in the industry,” said Jim Brady, Knight’s vice president of journalism. “Many obsolete black newspapers remain trusted voices in their communities, but are experiencing difficulties as more Americans receive news from digital sources. Supporting old editors and nurturing startup networks run by leading innovators demonstrates our commitment to color publishers, helping Knight better serve the information needs of these communities. ”

“Thanks to the LMA, we’ve been able to significantly increase our digital revenue and audience, especially with newsletters and promotions,” said Eleanor Tatum, publisher and owner of New York Amsterdam News. “The Knight x LMA Bloom Lab will help take our transformation to a whole new level. We are especially excited about technology scholarships and special resources that will help us in our performance. ”

“Since establishing the sustainability of color publishers as one of the four main pillars in 2018, the LMA has helped nearly 100 BIPOC organizations with business transformation, monetization and audience engagement strategies,” said Nancy Lane, LMA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The Knight x LMA BloomLab will take these efforts to a whole new level as we will be able to provide unprecedented resources, especially technology-focused, to a group of 26 media organizations owned and operated by blacks. We are excited to work with the Knight Foundation on this groundbreaking industry initiative. ”

These grants complement Knight’s grants $ 300 million, five-year commitment invest in new large-scale initiatives with the potential to strengthen the new future of local news and strengthen journalism, the press release said.

To learn more about Knight’s local news support strategy, visit: https://knightfoundation.org/features/localnews/.

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