Following a months-long national search, Aaron Foley has been appointed founding director of the Black Media Initiative at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community Media (CCM). In this new position, made possible by grants from several journalism foundations, he is tasked with helping Black press outlets nationwide grow, innovate, and become sustainable.
Foley is a journalist from Detroit who has had an extensive freelance career and was the city of Detroit’s first chief storyteller from 2017 to 2019.
“The CCM team is excited to have Aaron on board and we can’t wait to start working with him and supporting him as he builds an initiative that is so critically needed,” said CCM Executive Director Graciela Mochkofsky. “He has a clear vision for this project, one that is a perfect fit for the Center’s commitment to serve community media nationwide.” For the past few months, CCM has been conducting original research for a report on the State of the Black Media that will be released after the summer.
Foley describes himself as “a product of Black media.” His mother was an editor at the Michigan Chronicle, one of the oldest and last remaining Black newspapers in the country. His freelance work has appeared in BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, CNN, Forbes, The Root, Ebony, Columbia Journalism Review, New Michigan Media among other platforms. He also helped launch the successful digital news site MLive Detroit and was editor-in-chief of BLAC Detroit magazine, a publication covering black life, arts, and culture in metro Detroit.
As Detroit’s chief storyteller, Foley launched and edited The Neighborhoods, a digital platform with an all-Black millennial staff where city residents who are usually overlooked by local media coverage can share their stories. He is the author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass (2015) and has an impressive public speaking record, including a Ted Talk.
Foley has just finished his tenure as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and will start remotely at the Newmark J-School on June 15. You can learn more about him here.