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Home » Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper Baltimore Beat begins distribution

Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper Baltimore Beat begins distribution

by | Aug 2, 2022

A team of journalists and nonprofit practitioners led by Editor-in-Chief Lisa Snowden has delivered on its plans to return Baltimore Beat, a Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper and online outlet.

In the traditions of the Black press and the alternative weekly, Baltimore Beat’s community-focused reporting will prioritize thoughtful engagement with local readers—especially those with limited internet access and those who are a part of underrepresented communities, according to a press release.

Baltimore Beat will be distributed free every other week, with plans to strategically expand distribution and frequency of publication over time. An 8-page preview edition began circulation July 30 and the first full issue is out August 10.

Preview edition tweeted by Lisa Snowden

Snowden says free print news is a necessity in Baltimore, a majority Black city with a significant digital divide and so many people living below the poverty line.

“The pandemic continues to highlight the many, many inequities that exist in our communities,” said Snowden, formerly an editor at The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper, and The Real News Network. “Our decision to forgo a paywall and distribute a print newspaper is our way of addressing those inequities. We want to make sure everybody can access the nuanced reporting we’ll be doing.”

According to the release, Baltimore Beat will rely on support from Baltimore readers and likeminded large-scale donors who understand that reporting must reflect the diversity and experiences of all Baltimoreans and hold those in power accountable through investigative work, literary storytelling, and service journalism.

Joining Editor-in-Chief Snowden is Baltimore Beat’s Deputy Editor J. Brian Charles, who has been reporting on Baltimore gun violence at The Trace for the past two years and has previously worked at Chalkbeat, Governing, and The Hill.

The Beat’s Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson is formerly a staff writer for BmoreArt and gallery coordinator for Connect + Collect, and is the author of the 2021 book Black Collagists.

The Beat’s Director Of Operations Brandon Soderberg is the former editor-in-chief of Baltimore City Paper, coauthor of the 2020 book I Got a Monster, and an advocate for mindful, person-first journalism. His experiences as both reporter and publisher make him uniquely situated to strategically assist the Beat.

Baltimore Beat was established in 2017 following the closure of alt-weekly institution Baltimore City Paper. The Beat began as a for-profit weekly newspaper, shuttered in 2018, and transitioned to a nonprofit online outlet focused on service journalism and high-impact investigative work in 2019.

For EIC Snowden, this is an important opportunity to change the mood and tenor of local news.

“Journalism is still a very white industry. There aren’t a lot of places Black journalists can go where they will be valued, heard, and respected,” Snowden said. “I want Baltimore Beat to be a place where that can happen.”

To support Baltimore Beat visit https://baltimorebeat.com/donate/

Left to right, J. Brian Charles, Brandon Soderberg, Lisa Snowden, and Teri Henderson / Baltimore Beat Photo by Schaun Champion

About the Author

Jeffrey Davis

Jeffrey A. Davis, APR has more than 25 years of news media and national public relations experience and heads J. Davis Public Relations, LLC, a PR and social media consultancy based in Baltimore. A three-time PRSA Maryland president, he serves as Baltimore regional editor for the Capitol Communicator and is co-founder of Podville Media in D.C. where he co-hosted the "Practically Social" podcast. He began his career as a reporter at daily newspapers in Ohio, New Jersey and at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

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