The Fund for Black Journalism — established to reimagine the Black press in America – welcomes Nick Charles as the project manager of the group’s journalism collaborative.
This group will tackle issues of importance to the Black community including: unequal, de facto segregated education; voter suppression and the looming presidential election; redesigning public safety in America; equity and closing the wealth gap; and healthcare disparities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For each of these topics, the local publishers will produce an in-depth story and publish it locally. The ten stories will then roll up to a national story, written by Charles. The national story will be distributed to a wide array of media outlets. The goal is to establish the Black press as one of the leading national voices for solutions when it comes to racial, social and economic inequality in the United States.
Charles is a writer, editor, and communications executive who has worked for local and national media including NBC News, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, People magazine, and AOL Black Voices. Charles has extensive expertise in communications across multiple industries and says he aims to use his skill set to preserve the Fourth Estate.
Charles will lead the journalism efforts of the nationwide collaborative that includes 10 founding Black-owned media organizations: New York Amsterdam News, The Atlanta Voice, Houston Defender Network, The Washington Informer, The Dallas Weekly, St. Louis American, Michigan Chronicle, The Afro, Seattle Medium, and The Sacramento Observer. Reporting from the collaborative will be shared broadly with the industry, and will kick off with a collection of education stories in August. The goal is to quickly expand beyond ten publishers in the coming months.
We asked Charles to share some of his background, goals and visions for the Fund for Black Journalism.
Before we get into the details on your role with the Fund for Black Journalism, tell us a little bit about your background.
I’ve been attached to journalism, legacy, digital and other new media, and communications for most of my career. Information is power and I’ve always strived to disseminate the most accurate and truthful information I could gather to those who need it most to make pivotal decisions about their lives. I’ve lived and worked most of my adult life in the Northeast, though I did live in the Midwest for a few years, and have traveled extensively across the country.
What role will you be playing with this group and how will it work?
I’ll be the project manager, an idea generator, and the overall managing editor. Working closely with all of these savvy and committed publishers, I hope to enable consensus around the ways we tell the stories of the people in our communities.
What are your top goals?
To continue the foundational work of the Black Press and reassert its importance, which has always been an integral part of Black communities. By using the available and emerging technologies, we hope to cultivate new adherents even as we nurture those who have been faithful.
What excites you the most about this project?
In this moment of dual pandemics — COVID-19 and the eruption of protests against the ongoing virus of racism — it’s imperative that the voices of Black people be heard and listened to. There will be no adequate solutions unless we are not only at the table, but at the head. This project will amplify the voices of those who know best what their communities need to emerge even stronger in the face of these challenges.
Learn more about The Fund for Black Journalism and donate to support this collaborative and ongoing reporting by the Black press. Read the blog post about the fund from Elinor Tatum, founding member of the collaborative and fund, and publisher and editor-in-chief of the New York Amsterdam News.