Comcast NBCUniversal partnering with News is Out and Word In Black to launch fellowship program

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday February 6, 2024
Share this Post:
Comcast NBCUniversal has announced it is partnering with News is Out and Word In Black to launch a fellowship program for LGBTQ+ and Black publications. Image: Courtesy NBCUniversal<br>
Comcast NBCUniversal has announced it is partnering with News is Out and Word In Black to launch a fellowship program for LGBTQ+ and Black publications. Image: Courtesy NBCUniversal

News is Out, a queer media collaborative of six of the nation's legendary LGBTQ+ publications, and Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 of the nation's legendary Black publishers, are joining Comcast NBCUniversal for a groundbreaking initiative: The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab. Through Project UP, Comcast's $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and economic opportunities, the company is donating more than $1 million to launch this first-of-its-kind lab that supports Black and LGBTQ+ media and journalists.

Together, the three organizations will work to shed light on issues within marginalized communities across 16 news publications with the training and resources needed to tell these stories through media and technology and celebrate the work being done by Black and LGBTQ+ leaders in their communities, a news release stated.

"This is an unprecedented collaboration between the nation's legacy Black and LGBTQ publications and Comcast NBCUniversal to create better journalism for our communities," stated Bay Area Reporter publisher Michael Yamashita, a gay man. "Together we are stronger to advocate for our rights and safety."

Word In Black was also excited about the announcement.

"Word In Black is looking forward to working with our colleagues at News is Out and Comcast NBCUniversal on this groundbreaking fellowship program," stated Chris Bennett, publisher of the Seattle Medium and member of the Word In Black collaboration. "Uplifting the voices of journalists and publishers who are dedicated to covering Black and LGBTQ+ stories is vital to the future of inclusive media."

Specifically, the lab will elevate Black and LGBTQ+ perspectives through content creation and content sharing with NBCUniversal and NBCU Academy during a yearlong fellowship program that places 16 fellows at the 16 participating news organizations.

Fellows will be part of a cohort that receives best practices and learnings from journalists and media professionals at News is Out, Word In Black, and NBCUniversal, the release stated. They will also report on stories of Black and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and creatives in their communities, share training and resources on using technology more in their daily lives, report on policy related to access to technology and connectivity, and share the work being done to advance digital equity.

"As a Black queer woman, I know the impact of empowering and elevating Black and LGBTQ+ voices," stated Eboné F. Bell, publisher of Tagg magazine. "This project gives us an opportunity to instill a great amount of knowledge and experience in fellows who can help amplify the voice of these communities in the media industry."

The Local Media Foundation will manage the fellowship and lab, and facilitate content creation to reach diverse audiences between the 16 publishers and Comcast NBCUniversal. Word In Black and News is Out are collaboratives that were launched by LMF.

"Comcast is proud to launch this important initiative with the Local Media Foundation, News is Out, and Word In Black to empower a new generation of journalists and media professionals," said Anzio Williams, SVP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NBCUniversal Local. "Ensuring that stories and perspectives of underrepresented communities are featured in media by dedicated, trained, and resourced journalists is at the heart of Project UP's and NBCU Academy's mission. We look forward to seeing these journalists grow in their career and influence."

Applications are open to anyone with a passion for covering communities of color and/or LGBTQ+ issues. To learn more and apply, visit this link.

The 16 participating publications are:

AFRO News (Baltimore): Founded in 1892, AFRO provides readers with good news about the Black community not otherwise found. The AFRO and its talented team of journalists have won numerous awards, including NNPA newspaper of the year in 2022, and was named the Nation's # 1 African American Newspaper by Essence-Nielsen Consumer Survey.

The Atlanta Voice (Atlanta): The Atlanta Voice has been serving the metropolitan Atlanta community for more than 58 years. Birthed out of the Civil Rights movement as a trusted, authentic, fact and community driven media outlet for Black Atlanta. The publication's motto is "A People Without A Voice Cannot be Heard".

Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco): Launched in 1971, this weekly newspaper is one of the oldest and a pioneer in LGBTQ+ media.

Dallas Voice (Dallas): The premier media source for LGBTQ Texas, publishing every Friday since 1984.

Dallas Weekly (Dallas): Since 1954, Dallas Weekly has been at the epicenter of all things African American in north Texas, one of the country's fastest-growing regions.

Houston Defender (Houston): Since 1930, the Houston Defender Network has been "Raising Black Voices" as we Educate, Entertain and Empower the Greater Houston Black Community.

Michigan Chronicle (Detroit) The Michigan Chronicle is a news, information, and events company that covers the interests of the African American community. Leaders and readers in metropolitan Detroit look to the Michigan Chronicle to stay informed about issues that impact their lives.

New York Amsterdam News (New York City): Started more than a century ago, with a $10 investment, New York Amsterdam News has gone on to become one of the most important Black newspapers in the country and today remains one of the most influential Black-owned and -operated media businesses in the nation, if not the world.

Philadelphia Gay News (Philadelphia): The largest and oldest publication targeting the LGBTQ+ community, started in 1976.

The Sacramento Observer (Sacramento): Established in 1962, The Sacramento Observer has been one of the most decorated publications in the history of the Black Press.

Seattle Medium (Seattle): Founded on January 15, 1970, The Seattle Medium is the flagship publication of Tiloben Publishing Co. Inc. — the largest minority-owned and operated communications company in the Pacific Northwest, serving the Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland Markets — and is the primary source of news that residents of Seattle read to stay informed regarding issues and events that affect and enhance the quality of life in African American community.

The St. Louis American (St. Louis): Since 1928, The St. Louis American newspaper remains Black-owned and has emerged as the leading, most trusted voice of the area's African American community.

Tagg Magazine (National): This award-winning and Black queer, woman-owned publication, founded in 2012, is committed to uplifting the voices of all LGBTQ+ women across the country. Tagg was created to serve "everything lesbian, queer, and under the rainbow."

Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.): This weekly publication is the oldest LGBTQ+ newspaper in the U.S. It was launched in 1969.

The Washington Informer (Washington, D.C.): Founded the paper in 1964, this weekly, women-owned media company serves as the link to the African American community in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Windy City Times (Chicago): Founded in 1985, this legacy LGBTQ+ newspaper and website covers Chicago and its suburbs.

Never miss a story! Keep up to date on the latest news, arts, politics, entertainment, and nightlife. Sign up for the Bay Area Reporter's free weekday email newsletter. You'll receive our newsletters and special offers from our community partners.

Support California's largest LGBTQ newsroom. Your one-time, monthly, or annual contribution advocates for LGBTQ communities. Amplify a trusted voice providing news, information, and cultural coverage to all members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay -- Donate today!