Today, News is Out and Word In Black, together announced the 16 fellows selected for The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab, a new initiative powered by Comcast NBCUniversal to place journalists at 16 Black and LGBTQ+ serving news publications across the country. During the year-long fellowship, the group will receive the training and resources needed to tell stories within marginalized communities through media and technology and celebrate the work being done by Black and LGBTQ+ leaders in their communities.

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News is Out, Word In Black, and Comcast NBCUniversal Welcomes 16 Journalism Fellows to Cover Black and LGBTQ+ Communities (Graphic: Business Wire)

“Through Project UP, we are proud to donate $1 million to launch this unique, first-of-its-kind program that will support coverage of Black and LGBTQ+ topics in the media as well as emerging journalists with a passion for reporting on issues of importance to these communities,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.

“Comcast is one of the earliest corporate leaders in LGBTQ+ inclusion, so it should come as no surprise that they understand the value of local LGBTQ+ media,” said Mark Segal, founder of the Philadelphia Gay News and member of News is Out. “Their investment in our growth is also an investment in the future leadership of LGBT media and intersectional LGBTQ+ media.”

The fellows will receive best practices, learnings and mentorship from journalists and media professionals at News is Out, Word In Black, and NBCUniversal. In addition, they will 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 technological access and connectivity, and share the work being done to advance digital equity.

“I am excited to be a part of a fellowship that is specifically geared toward the promotion of diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality,” said Davi B. Ulloa-Estrada, News is Out and Philadelphia Gay News fellow. “We are missing such crucial and different perspectives on world issues, so I look forward to being a part of this project.”

“This fellowship program is the epitome of what journalism means to me – using innovation and creativity to fuel a passion for multimedia storytelling and uplift the voice and perspective of the overlooked,” said Word In Black and Washington Informer fellow, Jada Ingleton. “It means so much to know that I'll be in a position to produce stories that could enact change and affect lives the same way generations of journalists impacted mine.”

The Local Media Foundation (LMF) is managing the fellowship and Lab and facilitating content creation to reach diverse audiences between the 16 publishers, Comcast NBCUniversal and NBCU Academy. Word In Black and News is Out are collaboratives that were launched by LMF.

The 16 fellows are:

  • Megan Sayles, AFRO News (Baltimore)
  • Menra Mapfumo, The Atlanta Voice (Atlanta)
  • J.L. Odom, Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
  • Melissa Whitler, Dallas Voice (Dallas)
  • Marlissa Collier, Dallas Weekly (Dallas)
  • ReShonda Tate, Houston Defender (Houston)
  • Ebony “JJ” Curry, Michigan Chronicle (Detroit)
  • Leah Mallory, New York Amsterdam News (New York City)
  • Davi B. Ulloa-Estrada, Philadelphia Gay News (Philadelphia)
  • Christine Shelby, The Sacramento Observer (Sacramento)
  • Kira Doyle, Seattle Medium (Seattle)
  • Devored Horton, The St. Louis American (St. Louis)
  • Victoria F. Vega, Tagg Magazine (National)
  • Henry Carnell, Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.)
  • Jada Ingleton, The Washington Informer (Washington, D.C.)
  • Lu Calzada, Windy City Times (Chicago)

In February, the three organizations announced the launch of The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab and application period. The Lab is part of Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion initiative to connect people to the Internet and advance digital equity and economic mobility through programs and community partnerships that open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky.

About News is Out News is Out is a pioneering national collaborative of six of the legendary local queer news publishers. We deliver compelling journalism, which engages, amplifies and connects the LGBTQ+ community.

About Word In Black Word In Black is a groundbreaking collaboration of the nation’s 10 legendary Black news publishers. Word In Black promises to confront inequities, elevate solutions and amplify the Black experience by reporting, collecting, and sharing stories about real people in communities across our country.

About Local Media Association / Local Media Foundation Local Media Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, serves as the innovation and transformation affiliate of LMA. Incorporating our four strategic pillars — business transformation, journalism funded by philanthropy, industry collaboration, and sustainability for publishers of color — LMF helps provide local media companies the strategies and resources for meaningful innovation and impactful journalism projects.

Local Media Association brings all media together to share, network, collaborate and more. More than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, digital pure-plays, and research and development partners engage with LMA as members or constituents of our programs. As a 501(c)(6) trade association, LMA is focused on the business side of local media. Its programs and labs focus on revenue growth and new business models. LMA helps local media companies develop their strategies via cutting-edge programs, conferences, webinars, research and training.

About Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company. From the connectivity and platforms we provide, to the content and experiences we create, our businesses reach hundreds of millions of customers, viewers, and guests worldwide. We deliver world-class broadband, wireless, and video through Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky; produce, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through brands including NBC, Telemundo, Universal, Peacock, and Sky; and bring incredible theme parks and attractions to life through Universal Destinations & Experiences.

Media Contacts: News is Out: Penny Riordan

Word In Black:

K. Kim Atterbury

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