Verite to Launch Non-Profit Newsroom to Prioritize Service Journalism and Representative Reporting for Underserved Communities in New Orleans
Pulitzer Prize-Winning News Veteran, Editor and Lifelong New Orleanian and Retired Executive Vice President and Publisher of Nola.com/The Times-Picayune join forces to launch local news organization that serves the community and foster a new generation of diverse journalists
NEW ORLEANS, LA. – July 27, 2022 – Verite, a first-of-it-kind news organization in the New Orleans area, today announced the launch of its newsroom, which is set to go live in the fall. The newsroom’s in-depth, data-based reporting will focus on solution-based coverage on crucial topics such as education, housing, health care, criminal justice, the environment and politics–while centering the voices of communities that have been historically ignored and uplifting a region that has been left behind compared to similar national metropolitan areas.
Led by Executive Director David Francis (former EVP and publisher of NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune) and Editor-in-Chief Terry Baquet (former managing editor of Nola.com|The Times-Picayune and Managing Editor Tim Morris (former political editor and opinions columnist at The Times-Picayune), Verite aims to build a newsroom that’s founded on local trust, equity and a deeply rooted understanding of the vibrant cultures and information needs of the New Orleans metropolitan area.
“Black and brown journalists continue to be overlooked and underrepresented in the newsroom,” said David Francis, Verite Executive Director. “At Verite we want our newsrooms to be a platform for the community as well as for hiring and elevating journalists that reflect the diversity of the community, appreciate the New Orleans culture and understand the needs and perspectives of the city.”
Through partnerships with HBCUs and other institutions, Verite will connect the dots between the classroom and their professional newsroom by offering internships, fellowships and mentorship for minority students training them to join the Verite mission. Recognizing that over 75% of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic whites, Verite’s investment will create a pipeline of talent across the country that can be shared and celebrated.
“When we set out to create Verite, we wanted to fix the relationship gap and invest in human potential to uplift the new generation of reporters, editors and communicators from under-served communities,” said Terry Baquet, Verite Editor-in-Chief. “Maintaining our commitment to training these new reporters will add to their experience and help provide viewpoints in other markets. This approach is a cornerstone of our vision and will result in aiding all news outlets to better serve the greater community.”
“The disparities related to how communities of color are impacted by these challenges requires significant discussion, which will hopefully lead to evidence-driven solutions by our leadership,” said Kim Boyle, Verite board member and partner based in the New Orleans Office of Phelps Dunbar. “At this time like no other time in our beloved city’s history, we need an honest and strong voice like Verite to not only address issues of equality, but also issues of equity necessary to drive these critical conversations for our entire community.”
Verite has received a substantial commitment from The Ford Foundation to support its launch with specific focus on editorial planning, recruitment and the hiring of a top-notch team of journalists. Verite is also the recipient of a planning grant from the American Journalism Project that will provide tailored support including, 1:1 guidance, capacity building resources, peer learning opportunities and other tools to strengthen Verite’s business and revenue operations. Verite is a sister newsroom of Mississippi Today, and will be part of a forthcoming network of mission-driven, local news organizations that serve states in the Southern U.S.
“Verite is the culmination of a long held desire to increase news and information access for underserved communities and elevate journalists of color,” stated Andrew Lack, executive chairman at Verite and former chairman of NBC News and MSNBC. “I’m thrilled to partner with our distinguished national foundations, supporters, Terry, David and their team at a time when real local news reporting in our country has never been so important.”
Verite is a first-of-it-kind news organization committed to giving a voice to populations continually dismissed. Led by executive director David Francis, former publisher of NOLA.com, and editor-in-chief Terry Baquet, former managing editor of the Times-Picayune, and Managing editor Tim Morris, former opinion editor at the Times-Picayune. Verite delivers quality news that serves the whole community by creating a new generation of diverse and multi-faceted journalists committed to uncovering the truth.
Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis on behalf of Verite
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