Southern nonprofit looks to start news outlet for social justice coverage

Print More
Project South broadcasts its Youth Speaks Truth radio show. (Photo: Project South)

Hosts of Project South’s Youth Speaks Truth radio show broadcast from the studio of WRFG in Atlanta. (Photo: Project South)

Project South, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that aims to eliminate poverty through communications tools, is planning a new media organization that may syndicate programs to community radio.

The organization is in early stages of developing the media platform that it plans to spin off into a separate media organization. The platform will focus on providing context and analysis for issues in the South and focusing on reporting that “sheds light on injustice [and] covers the work of people fighting for change,” said Anna Simonton, a fellow at Project South, in an email.

Simonton

Simonton

“We recognize that independent news media is a critical part of the infrastructure needed in order for social movements to effect change,” Simonton said. “While there are some shining examples of (mostly local) independent news media in pockets of the South, overall we lack a robust system of independent news media in our region.”

The organization will look to partner with community radio stations, LPFMs, alternative or independent print publications, and public-access TV stations on the project. It is also working with the National Federation of Community Broadcasters to identify possible partners by surveying local news and reporting efforts at community radio stations.

“People of color, youth and rural communities continue to face persistent and systematic marginalization in our society,” said Sally Kane, NFCB c.e.o., in a press release. “This joint effort represents a chance for Project South media organizers to better understand this dynamic and help community radio enhance their efforts to create meaningful journalism and storytelling for their listeners.”

Founded in 1986, the Atlanta-based Project South aims to highlight issues affecting low-income families of color, using communications tools such as a youth-led radio show on a community station in Atlanta and an education curriculum focused on social justice.

The organization “has a vested interest in such a platform because we believe that being able to both produce and access this kind of news and information can empower people to take action on the issues affecting them, which is what Project South is all about,” Simonton said.

For the new platform, Project South hopes to work community stations that are already doing in their communities to build a larger network for the platform. “For community radio stations, we’ve heard that oftentimes the resources just aren’t there to maintain a news team,” Simonton said. “Given that condition, one possibility that we envisioned for fostering more community-driven (or ‘movement-driven,’ as we’ve also called it) reporting on a regional scale is to develop a syndicated news program that works with a network of locally based reporters.”

Project South is also looking into providing journalism training in communities through community radio stations. “The hope is that this would not only empower people to produce important reporting for the regional show, but lay some groundwork for them to contribute reporting directly to the station’s public affairs programming,” she added.