New public service newsroom will train, employ young journalists of color

Independent journalist Georgia Fort's BLCK Press strives for better coverage of communities of color

An independent news organization led by a Black journalist has announced the launch of a newsroom dedicated to training the next generation of journalists of color. 

Journalist Georgia Fort is leading the effort to launch the BLCK Press newsroom. 

Fort said BLCK Press has hired five young women of color, who will produce news content ranging from radio to video. She said the goal is to train them to cover news in their communities. 

And Fort said she’s expanding her efforts to cover the news in a way that’s respectful of communities of color. 

"For me, if I'm changing the narrative as an independent journalist, I can only do so much,” she said. “So how do we take the same critical thinking and teach it to other journalists in a way that's going to advance our industry, add value to our community and hopefully become a pipeline for other mainstream media outlets.” 

Fort said one of the goals is to create a culture where journalists of color feel comfortable. 

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Nadia Shaarawi is a videographer who contributes to BLCK Press, and said she’s excited to collaborate with her colleagues. 

“Now there’s an ecosystem for it,” Shaarawi said. “I’m part of this newsroom that’s trying to do really interesting stuff, that has the same values that are really rooted in community, so we can go out there and feel like we’re trusted and feel good about the stories we put out there.”  

The newsroom is being launched with the support of a grant from the Minneapolis Foundation. It joins other small public-service newsrooms in Minnesota including the Sahan Journal and MinnPost. 

The reporters will be edited by former MPR News reporter Marianne Combs, who previously worked with Fort on the Racial Reckoning project covering the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. BLCK Press’ work will initially appear on Twin Cities public access channels and radio stations KRSM, WFNU and WEQY.