Recapping the BEYOND: Reimagining Philadelphia Journalism summit

Thank you to everyone who participated in BEYOND: Reimagining Philadelphia Journalism last month. We covered many important topics and surfaced critical ideas and themes that will be helpful moving forward in our collective quest to build a more equitable Philadelphia news landscape. 

We are reviewing all of the material from the presentations and the conversations, and, over the next few months, we will share the collective vision that began to emerge from the summit, creating support for BIPOC founders, and create more space for peer learning spaces to attack inequity from a systemic perspective.

Over the course of the summit’s seven sessions, we discussed systemic oppression; gained insights from journalists of color, community members and Black non-traditional information providers on how journalism can meet this moment; heard from local news executives on their plans and goals for equitable transformation in journalism; and began to imagine what an equitable future in Philadelphia journalism looks like. You can find a folder with notes and other resources from all of the sessions here.

Here are more details on the discussions:

  • In our Opening & Keynote, Dr. Shakti Butler spoke about the role radical imagination, trauma and healing play in social justice work. We also heard from many of you about the strengths you bring into this work and what needs to change to make journalism more equitable.
  • In Momentum, journalists of color shared powerful insights about how newsrooms can tangibly become more diverse, equitable and inclusive by distributing power to people of color and creating institutions of belonging. This session featured talks from Sewell Chan, Vanessa Maria Graber, Priya Krishna, Perla Lara, Carla Murphy, Ernest Owens, Martin Reynolds. It also included insights from the work of the Leavers Survey of journalists of color who left the industry and the Media 2070 project which calls for media reparations.
  • In Connect, we heard from Philadelphia residents Alma Romero, My Le, and Jaleel King about their experiences with media, information needs and hopes for journalism. This documentary was created by ¡Presente! Media.
  • In The Roots of Social Justice we discussed the context of systemic racism led by Dr. Shakti Butler.
  • In Transparency we heard from news executives at 6ABC, NBC10/Telemundo62, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and WHYY on their plans and goals for advancing equity in their respective organizations.
  • In our Radical Imagination workshop, Dr. Shakti Butler led us through various exercises to help us time travel into 2030 and imagine how the Philadelphia news ecosystem would be different, and how we could support journalists and newsrooms in that journey.
  • In Reclaiming Our Stories, we heard from Black media makers Rasheed Ajamu, Sofiya Ballin, Alicia Bell, Jeannine Cook, Feminista Jones, Afaq Mahmoud & Rashid Zakat on what it means for Black folks to reclaim our right to tell our stories and what traditional journalism can do to better serve Black communities.

In the coming months, we will be reaching out to share updates about how we, in community with each of you, are thinking about putting these lessons into practice. 

If you have questions or thoughts in the meantime, I welcome the opportunity to connect with and learn from each of you. This is an amazing journey that we are on. I look forward to continuing to forge a path together.

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