Facebook Journalism Project Accelerator participants announced

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30 North American Newsrooms Join the Facebook Accelerator

David Grant
Facebook Accelerator Program Manager

Dorrine Mendoza
Local News Partnerships

We are thrilled to announce 30 news organizations joining the Facebook Journalism Project’s Accelerator programs for reader revenue in North America. More than half (55 percent) are owned or led by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and/or other communities of color, and 75 percent focus on local news.
These organizations will participate in our premier business training program for news publishers, which is built on four pillars: (1) virtual workshops where participants listen to experts and participate in hands-on exercises, (2) weekly calls with a dedicated, world-class expert coach, (3) grant funding to execute projects using lessons learned and (4) a community of shared practice in which people work together to support each other’s progress. They will join an active community of Accelerator alumni news organizations who remain allies for one another long after the conclusion of the formal program.
The Accelerators will run from April 20 through mid-July, followed by a six-month period to execute specific grant-funded initiatives. Grants will be distributed by the Local Media Association, our partner in these two programs.
“We are delighted and encouraged to see the diversity of applicants overall, and the selected participants in particular,” said Jay Small, chief operating officer of the Local Media Association. “We at LMA are familiar with quite a few of the participants, and know their strong commitments to quality local journalism. Others are new to us but show those same commitments. We look forward to seeing them all grow through their work in the Accelerators.”
Participants were selected from nearly 300 applications by Facebook staff, Local Media Association staff and Accelerator coaches based on a demonstrated impact on their community, commitment to the program’s requirements and their readiness to pursue their biggest business opportunities.
While we opened separate applications for subscriptions and memberships programs, we decided it was more important to group participants by size and scope. Larger publishers with 30-100 employees will comprise one group, and smaller publishers with 15 or fewer employees will join a second group. A mix of subscriptions and membership revenue models will be represented in each cohort.
Geographically, these newsrooms represent 16 US states, one US territory (Guam), and three Canadian provinces.
We are particularly grateful for the help of Accelerator alumni who recommended so many outstanding publishers for this iteration of the program. Half of those accepted were nominated by prior Accelerator participants.
“It’s been so incredibly inspiring to see the Accelerator family grow over the last three-plus years,” said Tim Griggs, founder and CEO of Blue Engine Collaborative and the Accelerator’s global executive director. “Now we’re seeing this awesome community of alumni encourage and support other teams in their quest toward sustainability and growth.”
In North Carolina, Accelerator alum Hilda Gurdian, publisher and CEO of La Noticia, encouraged another Charlotte-based publisher, QCity Metro, to apply to the Accelerator.
“Participating in the Accelerator gave us the knowledge to create and maintain a successful membership program, and we wanted the team at QCity Metro to have the same opportunity we had,” Gurdian said. “We are so happy that QCity Metro has been accepted into the program and will get the chance to learn from coaches, expert speakers and other publishers.”
In Canada, three new outlets (La Converse in Quebec, Peterborough Currents in Ontario and The Breach) will join this Accelerator after launching with resources and training through Indiegraf, a network of independent community news publishers founded by Accelerator alumni Erin Millar and Caitlin Havlak from Canada’s The Discourse. “The Discourse’s experience in the Accelerator in 2019 showed us that the tactics that are driving reader revenue growth for the big players could work for small independent publishers too,” Millar said. “We’ve been thrilled to share those lessons by helping new startups get off the ground through Indiegraf, and it’s gratifying to see these indies growing to a place where they can benefit from the Accelerator.”
We’ve split these 30 publishers into two groups roughly based on the size and scope of their operations.
The publishers participating in the Accelerator for larger publishers are:
The Afro-American logo
The AFRO-American (Maryland), America’s longest-running African American family-owned newspaper.
Black Press Media logo
Black Press Media (British Columbia, Canada), one of Canada’s largest privately owned media companies. Operating more than 140 trusted local brands with some of the most established newspapers in BC, Yukon, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
Central Oregon Media Group/The Bulletin
Central Oregon Media Group/The Bulletin (Oregon), a daily newspaper serving Central Oregon since 1903.
Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader (Illinois), a media company creating and curating political and cultural coverage by and for Chicagoans, including highlighting underrepresented communities and stories.
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times (Illinois), the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in Chicago.
Embarcadero Media
Embarcadero Media (California), which operates three community newspapers, six community and lifestyle websites and publishes specialty publications and digital media enterprises on the San Francisco Peninsula and the East Bay.
The Gazette
The Gazette (Iowa), Eastern Iowa’s leading daily newspaper and an independent, employee-owned source for local, state and national news coverage.
The Guam Daily Post
The Guam Daily Post (Guam), a daily newspaper and the island’s fastest growing media outlet providing local news coverage and content from a team of award-winning, veteran journalists.
The Hill Times
The Hill Times (Ontario, Canada), Canada’s leading political and policy news source.
Long Beach Post
Long Beach Post (California), a daily online source for local news, politics, business, life, sports, food and LGBT issues.
Record-Journal
Record-Journal (Connecticut), an independent, family-owned company anchored by its daily and Sunday newspaper, the Record-Journal, plus a group of weekly, community newspapers that cover Central Connecticut.
Southeast Missourian
Southeast Missourian (Missouri), a daily community newspaper serving Southeast Missouri, based in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The Sumter Item
The Sumter Item (South Carolina), the oldest continuously family-owned newspaper in South Carolina, serving Sumter County and the surrounding area since 1894.
Yakima Herald Republic
Yakima Herald Republic (Washington), the number 1 source for news and information in the Yakima Valley.
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Publishers participating in the Accelerator for smaller publishers are:
The Breach
The Breach (Canada), an independent, ad-free, nonprofit media outlet offering transformative journalism.
Chatham News + Record
Chatham News + Record (North Carolina), a newspaper serving the people and communities of Chatham County since 1878.
La Converse
La Converse (Quebec, Canada), a francophone nonprofit community-powered media fueled by dialogue journalism.
Documented
Documented (New York), a nonprofit news site devoted solely to covering New York City’s immigrants and the policies that affect their lives.
The Juggernaut logo
The Juggernaut, a premium publication and community that publishes smart journalism for the South Asian diaspora.
Madison365
Madison365 (Wisconsin), a nonprofit news outlet serving and amplifying the voices of Wisconsin’s communities of color.
The Michigan Banner
The Michigan Banner (Michigan), an independent, nonpartisan media outlet that reports diverse and multicultural news, happenings and stories in the Great Lakes Bay region and surrounding areas.
Mississippi Free Press
Mississippi Free Press (Mississippi), a nonprofit journalism website and multimedia network that publishes deep public-interest reporting into causes of and solutions to the social, political and structural challenges facing all Mississippians and their communities.
Montana Free Press
Montana Free Press (Montana), an independent, nonprofit source for in-depth news coverage of politics, government, and other issues that matter to the people of Montana.
black-voice-news-logo
Native News Online, a Native-led news site dedicated to changing the narrative about Indian Country by producing high-quality journalism that inspires, uplifts and informs.
Peterborough Currents
Peterborough Currents (Ontario, Canada), a reader-funded, independent news outlet serving Peterborough, Ontario, and the surrounding area.
The Plug logo
The Plug, a news & insights platform covering the Black innovation economy.
QCity Metro
QCity Metro (North Carolina), an independent, online news site devoted to covering Charlotte’s growing Black community.
The Sacramento Observer
The Sacramento Observer (California), an African American–owned weekly newspaper in Sacramento, California.
Shawnee Mission Post
Shawnee Mission Post (Kansas), a community news site serving the most-populous county in the state.
The War Horse Logo
The War Horse, a nonprofit newsroom educating the public on military service, war and its impact.
A dynamic coaching team of media professionals from a diverse array of backgrounds and leadership roles will include:
  • Ryan Tuck, a partner at Blue Engine Collaborative, a network of consultants and advisors around the globe. Ryan is a former editor, product manager and customer insights specialist for organizations small and large, and a coach in Accelerators in the US, Canada and Latin America. Ryan will coach and help coordinate both North American digital reader revenue cohorts.
  • Dork Alahydoian, a member of Blue Engine Collaborative and former head of marketing at theSkimm and product lead at The New York Times. Dork coached in both the US Subscription and Latin America Reader Revenue Accelerators in 2020 and is also coaching in the Nordics Reader Revenue Accelerator this year.
  • Idalmy Carrera-Colucci, a member of Blue Engine Collaborative and the vice president of audience engagement and retention for Tribune Publishing. Idalmy is an Accelerator alum and former coach in the Latin America Reader Revenue Accelerator in 2020.
  • Cierra Hinton, a member of Blue Engine Collaborative, executive director-publisher of Scalawag and a creative strategist who centers imagination, play and community in her work. Cierra previously coached in the US Sustainability Accelerator and is an Accelerator alum.
  • Claudia Laws, marketing and analytics director at The Salt Lake Tribune. Laws is an Accelerator alum.
  • Fran Scarlett, a member of Blue Engine Collaborative, media consultant and coach who advises organizations on leadership, nonprofit startup and growth, and performance-driven change. Scarlett previously coached in the US Sustainability Accelerator.
  • Priya Ollapally Wellington, a freelance product manager with more than a decade of experience in digital media and more than 15 years building digital products.
During three years of the Accelerator program, roughly 175 newsrooms generated the following results* while participating in 13 Accelerators around the world:
  • $60M+ in customer lifetime value
  • 200K+ new paying supporters
  • 2.5M+ new registered audience members
What started as a meeting is now a movement — a global community working together to build enduring businesses and a sustainable future for local news.
The Facebook Journalism Project is proud to support this endeavor. Newsrooms have shown that transformation is real and can happen faster than we ever thought possible.
*Stats reported in March 2021 by participating publishers, since program launch in 2018.

The Accelerator Program
The Facebook Journalism Project’s Accelerator program helps news publishers build sustainable businesses. Funded and organized by the Facebook Journalism Project, each Accelerator includes a three-month period of hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans, grants administered by non-profit journalism organizations, and regular reports on best business practices. The Accelerator’s executive director is Tim Griggs, an independent consultant/advisor and former New York Times and Texas Tribune executive.

For monthly updates on the Accelerator Program, sign up for the FJP newsletter.