14 Publishers of Color From the U.S. & Canada Join New Video Business Accelerator Cohort

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

A new cohort of U.S. and Canadian newsrooms have been selected to participate in the Video Business Accelerator, a tuition-free program aimed at teaching global newsrooms sustainable business strategies around video. The VBA is a cohort-based, virtual program aimed at empowering news organizations to design and implement strategies, build working prototypes, and launch revenue-generating video projects. It is a partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and the Local Media Association (LMA).

Meet the 2022 Publishers of Color cohort of the Video Business Accelerator:

  • AFRO American Newspapers is an African-American newspaper published in Baltimore, Maryland. The team is made up of Dana M. Peck, Kevin Peck, Nadia Reese, and Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper. 
  • APTN (The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) is an Indigenous television network based in Canada. The team includes Mark Blackburn, Jesse Andrushsko, Savannah Kelly, and Todd Lamirande.
  • Black Enterprise is a black-owned magazine based in New York covering African-American businesses. The team includes Lula Dualeh, Derek Dingle, Ed Stokes, Deven Robinson, Selena Hill, and Justin Barton.
  • Blavity is a digital news website based in Los Angeles for Black millennials. The team includes Adeniyi Omisore, Fabienne Roc, Darcel Duncan, and Orchid Richardson.
  • Essence is a monthly lifestyle magazine covering fashion, beauty, entertainment, and culture written for African-American women. The team includes Charisma DeBerry, Empress Varnado, and Rhyann Sampson.
  • For(bes) The Culture is a news hub for leaders of color. The team includes Rashaad Lambert, Chardia Christophe-Garcia, Bernard Osei, Sade Muhammad, and Everic White.
  • Gonez Media Inc is a digital first media company based in Toronto, Canada which produces Canada’s #1 fastest-growing online news & entertainment show, The Brandon Gonez Show & its nightly digital news series, News You Can Use. The team includes Brandon Gonez and Kellie Ehmke.
  • Houston Defender Network is an African-American owned media company in Houston, Texas. The team is made up of Clyde Jiles, Jodie B. Jiles, and Sonny Messiah Jiles.
  • iOne Digital is a NY based company with a dynamic portfolio of media brands delivering engaging authentic, socially-aware and entertaining original content for mobile, video and social media from a fresh perspective. The team includes Tanya Hoffler-Moore, Jasmine Lin, Contessa Schexnayder, and Allison McGevna.
  • Mundo Hispánico is a Spanish-language digital media company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The team is made up of Alfredo Suarez, Achilles Frenkel, Miriam Gonzalez, Santiago Guevara, and Rene Alegria.
  • NextShark is an AAPI-focused media company based in Newport Beach, California. The team includes Waylae Gregoire, Grace Kim, and Gabriel Jung.
  • theGrio is a digital and broadcast network with offices in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, covering Black communities. The team includes Natasha S. Alford, Jasmine Hardy, Kiana Matthews-Quinonez, Symone Davis, and Jay Williams.
  • The Sacramento Observer is an African-American owned newspaper published in Sacramento, California. The team includes Larry Lee, Angelica Obioha, Craig DeLuz, Ade Ritchards, and Louis Bryant.
  • Univision.com forms part of TelevisaUnivision the leading Spanish-language media and content company in the world, based out of Miami and Mexico City. The team is made up of Diana Ramirez, Pablo Sanchis, Carolina Astuya, and Hilda Garcia.

This cohort is the third in the program. The program started in 2021 with 12 newsrooms in Asia-Pacific. Our second cohort included 15 media organizations from Latin America. This new group will include 14 publishers of color in the United States and Canada that are focused on elevating the stories and voices of those in their communities. They will gather virtually for nine months starting on April 6. The Accelerator is designed for news outlets that are ready to refine existing video strategies, grow their revenues by capturing new audiences, measure the success of new initiatives with precision, and deliver high quality journalism on different platforms. 

“Video is a key component of any successful journalism business strategy,” said Anita Zielina, director of strategic initiatives at the Newmark J-School. “This program will give these newsrooms the tools and techniques to be able to understand how to better monetize their video content and attract new audiences.”

The first 10 weeks of the training will feature sessions on the business of video led by industry experts from around the world. Participants will then each apply for a $10,000 grant to develop a video project over the following six months. Team leaders from each media outlet will help champion the video project in their respective organizations. Throughout the program, participating teams will be advised by professional coaches who are experts in their craft.

“We hope these monetary grants give the news organizations the opportunity to try new experiments and innovative storytelling techniques related to video,” said Nancy Lane, Chief Executive Officer, at LMA. “The grants, classes with expert instructors and sessions with high quality coaches should inspire and empower these newsrooms to find new ways to reach their communities and grow their video metrics and revenue.”

The new cohort is made up of representatives from news organizations from New York, Maryland, California, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Canada. The newsrooms range from legacy print newspapers, television broadcasters and digital startups that focus on telling the stories of the Black, Asian American, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities. 

Jessica Cumberbatch, Strategic Partner Manager at Meta, said: “We are thrilled to work on this Accelerator program with publishers of color in the United States and Canada. This program with CUNY and LMA will encourage the participating news organizations to share their knowledge with each other and promote best practices around video monetization. We can’t wait to see what these newsrooms come up with and how they take the learnings of this program and share them with their colleagues.”

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The Video Accelerator Program

The Meta Journalism Project’s Video Accelerator program helps news publishers create excellent video and build sustainable business models that work. Funded by the Meta Journalism Project, each Accelerator includes hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans and coaching from industry experts. Catch up on all the lessons from the Video Accelerator here. For monthly updates on the Accelerator program, sign up for the Meta Journalism Project newsletter.