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Aaron Foley

  1. Black Media Initiative Director, Center for Community Media

Aaron 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. Before joining the Newmark J-School’s Center for Community Media (CCM) on June 15, 2020, he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

As CCM’s first Black Media Initiative Director, Foley will help Black press outlets nationwide grow, innovate, and become sustainable.

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 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.

You can learn more about him here.

(Photo: Douglas Zimmerman/