This week, Report for America announced Black Voice News (BVN) is among 64 news agencies from across the country selected to participate as host partners for 2021.
A national news service program, Report for America (RFA), will place more than 300 journalists in the field to cover important local stories in the coming year.
BVN will host one emerging journalist to help expand its focus on data journalism in ways that inform, inspire, and engage readers on issues of importance to the community.
Though 2020 continues to be a year of challenges, it has also served as a beacon, shining a spotlight on the frailties of current and historical, social, and political (dis)orders and in the process, challenged the media to meet the moment.
“Our purpose is always to foster a community that is informed and inspired to seek collaborative and constructive solutions to issues whether at the municipal, state or federal level,” said BVN Executive Editor Stephanie Williams. “We are looking forward to the promise of 2021 and the content our publication will deliver with the addition of a data journalist inspired and professionally equipped to help bring these important stories to life supported with data and using a variety of media across multiple platforms.”
She continued, “We are grateful to Report for America and its continued commitment to small news organizations like ours who are dedicated to telling stories “of and for” our communities but often lack the resources to dive into many of the most important, and at times, complex questions of the day.”
In an environment where lines are being intentionally blurred between rumors, facts and falsehoods, readers everywhere look to local news outlets to be purveyors of truth, accuracy, and authenticity, “With Report for America’s support, BVN is better positioned to focus on community issues that are often unreported,” Williams stated.
Owed to longstanding racial and economic disparities in the Inland Empire, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting Blacks from every direction whether it is a lack of healthcare, higher COVID-19 death rates, unemployment rates, housing and/or food insecurity, etc. In response, the data journalist joining BVN will focus on capturing where and how issues like health, economic mobility, housing, food insecurity and criminal justice interlock across communities of color in the region and the role these matters play regarding the impact of the virus.
Broadening BVN’s ability to tell stories of those who live the experiences of these systemic inequities and who ultimately drive the data, is essential. The Report for America program is another step in this publication’s efforts to build on and expand its reporting from the ground-up by merging the two—stories and data—in ways conducive to informing readers and compelling much needed change.
Report for America will pay half the salary up to $25,000 for the new data journalist and BVN, with the support of readers like you, will cover the balance.