Comcast NBCUniversal Partners with Michigan Chronicle to Launch Fellowship Program that Empowers Black Voices

Digital Equity Local Voices Lab Fellows to be Placed at 16 Local Publications to Receive Training and Create Content that Empowers Black and LGBTQ+ Voices

Detroit (February 6, 2024)News is Out, a queer media collaborative of six of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ publications, and Word In Black, a collaborative of ten of the nation’s leading Black publishers, are joining Comcast NBCUniversal for a groundbreaking initiative: The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab. Through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and economic opportunities, the company is investing more than $1 million to launch this first-of-its-kind Lab that supports Black-owned and LGBTQ+-owned media and journalists.

Local Voices Lab

Together, the three organizations will work to empower voices in marginalized communities across 16 news publications with the training and resources needed to tell these stories through media and technology and celebrate the work being done by Black and LGBTQ+ leaders in their communities.

“Word in Black is looking forward to working with our colleagues at News is Out and Comcast NBCUniversal on this groundbreaking fellowship program,” said Chris Bennett, publisher of the Seattle Medium and member of the Word in Black collaboration. “Uplifting the voices of Black and LGBTQ+ journalists and publishers is vital to the future of inclusive media.”

Specifically, the Lab will elevate Black and LGBTQ+ perspectives through content creation and content sharing with NBCUniversal and NBCU Academy during a year-long fellowship program that places 16 fellows at the 16 participating news organizations.

Fellows will be part of a cohort that receives best practices and learnings from journalists and media professionals at News is Out, Word in Black, and NBCUniversal. They will also report on stories of Black and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and creatives in their communities, share training and resources on using technology more in their daily lives, report on policy related to access to technology and connectivity, and share the work being done to advance digital equity.

“As a Black queer woman, I know the impact of empowering and elevating Black and LGBTQ+ voices,” said Eboné F. Bell, publisher of Tagg Magazine. “This project gives us an opportunity to instill a great amount of knowledge and experience in fellows who deserve to have a voice in our industry.”

The Local Media Foundation (LMF) will manage the fellowship and Lab and facilitate content creation to reach diverse audiences between the 16 publishers and Comcast NBCUniversal. Word In Black and News is Out are collaboratives that were launched by LMF.

“Comcast is proud to launch this important initiative with the Local Media Foundation, News is Out, and Word in Black to empower a new generation of journalists and media professionals,” said Anzio Williams, SVP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NBCUniversal Local. “Ensuring that those with underrepresented perspectives are centered in amplifying the stories, narratives, and perspectives of the communities they represent is at the heart of Project UP’s and NBCU Academy’s mission. We look forward to seeing these journalists grow in their career and influence.”

Applications are open to anyone with a passion for covering communities of color and/or LGBTQ+ issues. To learn more and apply, visit this link.

Among the 16 participants is the Michigan Chronicle. 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.

Michigan Chronicle

The 15 other participating publications from across the country are:

  • AFRO News (Baltimore): Founded in 1892,AFRO provides readers with good news about the Black community not otherwise found.
  • The Atlanta Voice (Atlanta):Founded by Mr. Ed Clayton, a formidable newspaperman and J. Lowell Ware in 1966 with a defined vision and mission, the publication’s motto and driving force ever since: “A People Without A Voice Cannot Be Heard.”
  • Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco): Launched in 1971, this weekly newspaper is one of the oldest and a pioneer in LGBTQ+ media.
  • Dallas Voice (Dallas): The premier media source for LGBTQ Texas, publishing every Friday since 1984.
  • Dallas Weekly (Dallas): Since 1954, Dallas Weekly has been at the epicenter of all things African American in north Texas, one of the country’s fastest-growing regions.
  • Houston Defender (Houston): Since 1930, the Houston Defender Network has been “Raising Black Voices” as we Educate, Entertain and Empower the Greater Black Houston Area.
  • New York Amsterdam News (New York City): Started more than a century ago, with a $10 investment, New York Amsterdam News 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.
  • Philadelphia Gay News (Philadelphia): The largest and oldest publication targeting the LGBTQ+ community, started in 1976.
  • The Sacramento Observer (Sacramento): Established in 1962, The Sacramento Observer has been one of the most decorated publications in the history of the Black Press.
  • Seattle Medium (Seattle): A member ofTiloben Publishing Company, producing and distributing the publications of choice that residents of Seattle read to stay informed regarding issues and events that affect and enhance the quality of life in African American and minority communities.
  • The St. Louis American (St. Louis):Since 1928, The St. Louis American newspaper has emerged as the leading, most trusted voice of the area’s African American community.
  • Tagg Magazine (National): This award-winning and Black queer, woman-owned publication, founded in 2012, is committed to uplifting the voices of all LGBTQ+ women across the country. Tagg was created to serve “everything lesbian, queer, and under the rainbow.”
  • Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.): This weekly publication is the oldest LGBTQ+ newspaper in the U.S. It was launched in 1969.
  • The Washington Informer (Washington, D.C.): Founded in 1964, this weekly newspaper is women-owned and serves the African American population in the D.C. metropolitan area.
  • Windy City Times (Chicago): Founded in 1985, this legacy LGBTQ+ newspaper and website covers Chicago and its suburbs.

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