True equity means ownership

“Your intellectual property is like your child. Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

It almost feels too simple, right?

For far too long, newsroom leaders have been wringing their hands over how to serve Black and brown communities. How many diversity initiatives, recruitment efforts, and implicit-bias trainings do we have to endure without the follow-through?

The spring and summer of 2020 ripped the blinders off of newsroom leaders who were ignorant to how systemic racism works and what oppression looks like.

In newsrooms, that oppression looks like the marginalization of Black and brown staff, the stifling of ideas, the crafting of narratives about POC that center White audiences, and the canceling of shows. Audiences of color aren’t blind to these decisions. In 2019, before the launch of Truth Be Told, my advice podcast for people of color produced by KQED, I held in-person community gatherings and asked potential listeners what they wanted from a show like it.

At every one of those gatherings, audience members asked some variation of: “How committed is this organization to a show that speaks to us?” “How long will this last?” “How do we know this won’t be just another program we’ll fall in love with and then, like so many others before, gets canceled?”

Like most journalists of color, I couldn’t promise them that wouldn’t happen.

In Hollywood storylines, it’s the characters of color that are always the first to die. In journalism, it’s the canceling of your favorite show with a Latina host. It’s wondering why you never see the biggest newspaper in your town covering your neighborhood. It’s listening to stories about you that aren’t for you.

What’s different now is that we can’t unlearn the lessons of this summer’s uprisings. It’s not good enough to hire staff of color without making changes that will make your news organization look, sound, and feel different — a truer reflection of America.

So in 2021, true equity means ownership.

More Black, brown, and Indigenous journalists will team up to start their own media companies. Podcasters, writers, and other creatives are also learning more about the value of their intellectual property and having full control over the journalism they create and produce.

We’ve seen this happen already. In the summer of 2020, podcast host and producer Misha Euceph bought full ownership of her podcast centering Muslim voices called Tell Them, I Am from Los Angeles public radio station KPCC. Euceph has since started her own production company.

“Your intellectual property is like your child,” Euceph wrote on Twitter. “Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

Journalists Akoto Ofori-Atta and Lauren Williams‘ venture is another example. In 2021, the two veteran journalists will launch Capital B, a Black-led nonprofit local and national news organization.

These won’t be easy ventures. The media landscape is flooded with choices for the consumer. But in these newly formed “for us, by us” media organizations, the audience will begin to see themselves reflected in the product, and perhaps we’ll see a growth in support under the membership model, choosing to support POC-led organizations with regular small donations.

Philanthropic organizations and private funders in 2021 may also turn their attention to these POC-led startups, and find interest in backing media that is closer to the ground in serving communities of color.

And I predict that toward the end of 2021, we will see many full-circle moments: some media legacy organizations, understanding the value of POC journalists, partnering with POC-led startups and finally getting closer to fulfilling the mission of journalism: truer, more inclusive coverage that reflects our world.

Tonya Mosley is co-host of NPR’s Here & Now and host of Truth Be Told.

It almost feels too simple, right?

For far too long, newsroom leaders have been wringing their hands over how to serve Black and brown communities. How many diversity initiatives, recruitment efforts, and implicit-bias trainings do we have to endure without the follow-through?

The spring and summer of 2020 ripped the blinders off of newsroom leaders who were ignorant to how systemic racism works and what oppression looks like.

In newsrooms, that oppression looks like the marginalization of Black and brown staff, the stifling of ideas, the crafting of narratives about POC that center White audiences, and the canceling of shows. Audiences of color aren’t blind to these decisions. In 2019, before the launch of Truth Be Told, my advice podcast for people of color produced by KQED, I held in-person community gatherings and asked potential listeners what they wanted from a show like it.

At every one of those gatherings, audience members asked some variation of: “How committed is this organization to a show that speaks to us?” “How long will this last?” “How do we know this won’t be just another program we’ll fall in love with and then, like so many others before, gets canceled?”

Like most journalists of color, I couldn’t promise them that wouldn’t happen.

In Hollywood storylines, it’s the characters of color that are always the first to die. In journalism, it’s the canceling of your favorite show with a Latina host. It’s wondering why you never see the biggest newspaper in your town covering your neighborhood. It’s listening to stories about you that aren’t for you.

What’s different now is that we can’t unlearn the lessons of this summer’s uprisings. It’s not good enough to hire staff of color without making changes that will make your news organization look, sound, and feel different — a truer reflection of America.

So in 2021, true equity means ownership.

More Black, brown, and Indigenous journalists will team up to start their own media companies. Podcasters, writers, and other creatives are also learning more about the value of their intellectual property and having full control over the journalism they create and produce.

We’ve seen this happen already. In the summer of 2020, podcast host and producer Misha Euceph bought full ownership of her podcast centering Muslim voices called Tell Them, I Am from Los Angeles public radio station KPCC. Euceph has since started her own production company.

“Your intellectual property is like your child,” Euceph wrote on Twitter. “Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

Journalists Akoto Ofori-Atta and Lauren Williams‘ venture is another example. In 2021, the two veteran journalists will launch Capital B, a Black-led nonprofit local and national news organization.

These won’t be easy ventures. The media landscape is flooded with choices for the consumer. But in these newly formed “for us, by us” media organizations, the audience will begin to see themselves reflected in the product, and perhaps we’ll see a growth in support under the membership model, choosing to support POC-led organizations with regular small donations.

Philanthropic organizations and private funders in 2021 may also turn their attention to these POC-led startups, and find interest in backing media that is closer to the ground in serving communities of color.

And I predict that toward the end of 2021, we will see many full-circle moments: some media legacy organizations, understanding the value of POC journalists, partnering with POC-led startups and finally getting closer to fulfilling the mission of journalism: truer, more inclusive coverage that reflects our world.

Tonya Mosley is co-host of NPR’s Here & Now and host of Truth Be Told.

C.W. Anderson   Journalism changed under Trump — will it keep changing under Biden?

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

J. Siguru Wahutu   Journalists still wrongly think the U.S. is different

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

An Xiao Mina   2020 isn’t a black swan — it’s a yellow canary

Rishad Patel   From direct-to-consumer to direct-to-believers

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

María Sánchez Díez   Traffic will plummet — and it’ll be ok

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

Shaydanay Urbani and Nancy Watzman   Local collaboration is key to slowing misinformation

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

Cory Haik   Be essential

Marcus Mabry   News orgs adapt to a post-Trump world (with Trump still in it)

Ben Collins   We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes   A shift from conversation to action

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

Julia B. Chan and Kim Bui   Millennials are ready to run things

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

Sue Cross   A global consensus around the kind of news we need to save

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

Annie Rudd   Newsrooms grow less comfortable with the “view from above”

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Sam Ford   We’ll find better ways to archive our work

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists will be kinder to each other — and to themselves

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

Kate Myers   My son will join every Zoom call in our industry

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula   Expect to see more translations and non-English content

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Sumi Aggarwal   News literacy programs aren’t child’s play

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

Patrick Butler   Covid-19 reporting has prepared us for cross-border collaboration

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

Don Day   Business first, journalism second

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

Tanya Cordrey   Declining trust forces publishers to claim (or disclaim) values

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

Candis Callison   Calling it a crisis isn’t enough (if it ever was)

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

Aaron Foley   Diversity gains haven’t shown up in local news

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

Chicas Poderosas   More voices mean better information

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

Benjamin Toff   Beltway reporting gets normal again, for better and for worse

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting dodged a bullet in 2020, but 2021 will be harder

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

Ashton Lattimore   Remote work helps level the playing field in an insular industry

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Laura E. Davis   The focus turns to newsroom leaders for lasting change

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

Nikki Usher   Don’t expect an antitrust dividend for the media

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Astead W. Herndon   The Trump-sized window of the media caring about race closes again

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Bill Adair   The future of fact-checking is all about structured data

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

Francesca Tripodi   Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

Alfred Hermida and Oscar Westlund   The virus ups data journalism’s game

Juleyka Lantigua   The download, podcasting’s metric king, gets dethroned

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

Raney Aronson-Rath   To get past information divides, we need to understand them first

Ariane Bernard   Going solo is still only a path for the few

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

Jennifer Brandel   A sneak peak at power mapping, 2073’s top innovation

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

Joshua P. Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

Richard Tofel   Less on politics, more on how government works (or doesn’t)

Mike Caulfield   2021’s misinformation will look a lot like 2020’s (and 2019’s, and…)

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes