Comcast NBCUniversal and News is Out Empower 16 Journalism Fellows to Amplify Black and LGBTQ+ Voices

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 4/15/2024, 11:56 a.m.
In a groundbreaking collaboration, News is Out and Word In Black have joined forces to unveil the 16 esteemed fellows …

In a groundbreaking collaboration, News is Out and Word In Black have joined forces to unveil the 16 esteemed fellows selected for The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab. Powered by Comcast NBCUniversal, this pioneering initiative aims to empower journalists across 16 Black and LGBTQ+ serving news publications nationwide. These handpicked fellows will embark on a transformative year-long journey, equipped with the tools and training necessary to amplify stories within marginalized communities, harnessing the power of media and technology.

"With Project UP, we are thrilled to pledge $1 million towards the launch of this unprecedented program, dedicated to fostering coverage of Black and LGBTQ+ narratives in the media. Through this initiative, we aim to nurture emerging journalists with a fervent commitment to shedding light on issues vital to these communities," affirmed Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.


Mark Segal, the visionary founder of the Philadelphia Gay News and a key figure within News is Out, praised Comcast's forward-thinking approach, stating, "Comcast's recognition of the significance of local LGBTQ+ media underscores their unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. Their investment in our growth is a testament to their dedication to fostering the next generation of LGBTQ+ media leaders."

Throughout the fellowship, the chosen journalists will receive invaluable guidance, mentorship, and industry insights from seasoned professionals at News is Out, Word In Black, and NBCUniversal. Armed with these resources, they will delve into the vibrant tapestry of Black and LGBTQ+ communities, amplifying the voices of entrepreneurs, creatives, and leaders who are driving positive change.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the fellowship, Davi B. Ulloa-Estrada, a fellow representing News is Out and Philadelphia Gay News, remarked, "This fellowship embodies the principles of diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality that are crucial to authentic storytelling. It's an opportunity to fill the gaps in representation and provide diverse perspectives on global issues."

Jada Ingleton, another distinguished fellow hailing from Word In Black and the Washington Informer, echoed this sentiment, declaring, "For me, this fellowship encapsulates the essence of journalism — leveraging innovation and creativity to amplify the voices of the marginalized. I am honored to have the chance to produce stories that have the potential to spark meaningful change and resonate with audiences on a profound level."

Managed by the Local Media Foundation (LMF), the fellowship and Lab will facilitate collaboration and content creation among the 16 publishers, Comcast NBCUniversal, and NBCU Academy, ensuring diverse perspectives reach audiences far and wide. Word In Black and News is Out, both launched by LMF, stand as beacons of progress and inclusivity within the media landscape.

As the digital frontier expands, this initiative stands as a beacon of hope, empowering journalists to forge a more inclusive narrative and amplify the voices that have long been marginalized. Together, Comcast NBCUniversal and News is Out are poised to usher in a new era of storytelling, one where diversity, equity, and inclusion reign supreme.

The 16 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.