Last month, over 150 Black, Indigenous, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latine journalists, publishers, and media leaders came together on a virtual webinar, co-hosted by the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund and Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, with leading funders of the $500 million Press Forward local news initiative.

Press Forward is a coalition of funders organizing and mobilizing philanthropy to invest in “a local news renaissance that will reshape the local news landscape and re-center local journalism as a force for community cohesion, civic participation, and government accountability.”

BIPOC journalists have long known that efforts to reshape local news must include BIPOC communities to catalyze change and ensure any semblance of journalistic sustainability. As such, publishers and funders touched on essential questions around collaborationmetrics aimed at BIPOC media organizationsbalanced funding opportunities, and funder accountability. In the end, if nothing else, funders and practitioners agreed that to have a multi-racial democracy, we also need a hearty, thick, and robust BIPOC journalism sector.

It’s no small feat for folks across the philanthropy and journalism sector who’ve never met before to agree in under 90 minutes. So, how did we get to that point last month?

Angel Ellis, director of Mvskoke Media and the first querist, spoke about how collaboration bolstered small media organizations in Oklahoma and alleviated the workload for many of them. She asked funders whether they plan to prioritize efforts to fund BIPOC media organizations working in collaboration.

Funders like Jim Brady, Vice President of Journalism at the Knight Foundation, said, “The day of independent organizations doing their own thing and not collaborating with anyone is over.” Funder respondents also mentioned that funding collaborative efforts is attractive.

Mazin Sidahmed of Documented asked how funders planned to assess the success of Press Forward. He continued this question by asking about their plans to shape metrics, specifically for BIPOC media organizations, to ensure reduced harm and accuracy.

Read the full article about building relationships with BIPOC-owned media and journalism at Borealis Philanthropy.