Last week, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Executive Director Giles Morris and Editor Elliott Robinson along with Maxicelia and Troy Robinson of In My Humble Opinion, shared their experiences bridging the gap between a nerdy newsroom’s public service journalism and hip hop audiences through an FM talk radio show. Glenn H. Burkins, Founder and Publisher of Qcitymetro was the panel Moderator.

The session, Doing The Right Thing: Using Community Partnerships to Reach Audiences Across the Fault Lines,  was a lens on how a small newsroom can reach new, large and traditionally overlooked audiences with their reporting by working with media partners who already have their trust. The trick? Finding ways to make public policy reporting clear enough that it can work for people in their everyday lives. This session explored journalism through the Fault Lines framework taught by the Maynard Institute.

When COVID-19 struck, the original Institute for Nonprofit Journalism conference, was split into two parts: part one, focused on sustainability, while,  part two, which was held virtually on September 22 and 23, focused on racial equity in journalism and how nonprofit news organizations can meet the moment.

“I left journalism because it had a problem with race and then came back to try to change it,” wrote Fran Scarlett,  INN Chief Knowledge Officer.  “I wanted to create a conference in which discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion were the main event — not an offshoot.  I wanted to bring diverse voices into the room so people could listen and hear how journalists and publishers are tackling this country’s race problem. “

“The young partnership we’ve forged with In My Humble Opinion and Vinegar Hill Magazine is critical for furthering diversity and equity across the media landscape in the Charlottesville area,” News Editor Elliott Robinson said. “Each publication comes with its strengths, and our collaboration only makes us all stronger and our audience more informed.”

The two-day conference closed with a talk by Ashley Alvarado, Director of Community Engagement for Southern California Public Radio titled, Good Intentions Aren’t Good Enough: On Engaged Journalism, DEI, and the Value of Getting Uncomfortable.

“In every training I do, I focus not on ‘you should do this,’ but instead on ‘you can do this, and here’s how,’” added Scarlett. “It is possible to grow. It is possible to be more respectful. It is possible to become a change agent.”


The Institute for Nonprofit News strengthens and supports more than 300 independent news organizations in a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold — connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy. Our vision is a world in which all people in every community have access to trustworthy news. INN programs help these news organizations develop revenue and business models to support strong reporting, collaborate on editorial and business innovation, share services and advance the diverse leaders who are forging a new future for news.

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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