Terry Baquet
Verite Editor-in-Chief Terry Baquet outside the digital newsroom's office in Liberty Bank. Credit: Verite

My dad used to say. “Son, all that talk is great, but now it’s time to walk the walk.”

Today we begin walking that walk.

Verite is a diverse, Black-led nonprofit news organization that launches today to serve communities in the Greater New Orleans area and beyond. 

Our mission is to confront the structural issues that are tearing apart the social fabric of our society, revealing and documenting the causes and impacts and engaging the community in seeking solutions. Our motto is Truth, Facts, Fairness.

We will give voice to those who are being left out of the debates over how to best help all parts of the city to thrive. And we will speak to and for the people who struggle every day just to make ends meet.

We will do this while creating a fellowship program to educate and mentor aspiring minority journalists so they can eventually take their voices and talent to other newsrooms across the state and the nation helping to fill a void that all media organizations are struggling to overcome. This is an opportunity not available in most newsrooms. 

Verite Executive Director David Francis, left, and Director of People and Culture Dylan Penny check out office renovations at the Liberty Bank building at Canal and Broad streets.

With the backing of the Ford Foundation, the American Journalism Project, Liberty Bank and other generous benefactors, Verite will focus on understanding income insecurity and inequality and reducing the gaps in home ownership, health care and education, as well as resolving the chronic disparities in the criminal justice system and the long-term trends in voter disenfranchisement.  

We will do this with the knowledge that injustice, unfairness and inequity in any part of the community hurt us all. 

In addition to a unique partnership with WVUE Fox8 that will include cross-training for staffers, multimedia productions and investigative journalism, we will work with other news organizations throughout the region to help expand news reporting and information resources for all of the New Orleans area and the Gulf Coast.  

Verite will go beyond the news to lift up the city’s unique culture and history. We will be a place where local authors and artists can showcase their work and talk about the challenges and benefits of making a living in New Orleans.

None of this will be easy. We realize there will be growing pains. But we are committed to making this work because of all the good it can do for New Orleans and the field of journalism.  

Over the next few months we will be meeting with community and civic organizations and you —  the people of our unique city —-  to listen to what you want us to know. 

Through social media and on our site, we’ll let you know when we’ll be in your neighborhood.

As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization, we are asking the community to join us in this effort. You can do that by sharing your ideas and thoughts, making financial donations, subscribing to our newsletters and by sharing our stories with others. 

We would love for you to walk with us. 

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Terry Baquet is a 28-year veteran of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and a lifelong New Orleanian. He served as Sunday Editor and was the Page 1 Editor during the paper’s Katrina coverage, which won two...

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