This 6-month, tuition-free, online program trains teams from Black-owned newsrooms to build product strategies for digital transformation and sustainability. The Black Media Product Strategy program is the result of a collaboration between J+ and the Black Media Initiative at the Center for Community Media, with a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Black media is a vital asset to the audiences they serve and a necessary part of the journalism ecosystem that can help improve the industry’s long-term prospects and introduce new ways of thinking about news. Black media leads the way in providing critical coverage, centering the community, and connecting us to the historical fight for justice.
When the Black Media Initiative conducted a series of exploratory interviews with Black publishers, it found that while Black media organizations are in different places with regard to financial sustainability, most publishers have concerns about the long-term financial viability of their enterprise. How might we help these newsrooms craft strategies to build sustainable revenue streams? How might we help them increase capacity, retain talent, and better connect with other newsrooms for support?
We believe that product thinking can be the catalyst for growth. Participants in our previous product trainings reported a transformational impact as their newsrooms became more audience-centric, data-centric and collaborative. Many launched news products – newsletters, podcasts, special editions – that opened up new revenue streams from members or sponsors.
The Black Media Product Strategy adopts our tested curriculum and our cohort-based training methods, which allow participants to learn from the best in the business from around the world while strengthening connections with peers. The program consists in two phases, 1) a series of bi-weekly online classes led by news product leaders covering every aspect of product development in a news context, and 2) a project phase where the participants will build a product prototype under the mentorship of a coach.
The program will serve 10 newsrooms between April and October 2022. Applications open January 17 and close February 17.