For over a decade the New York Amsterdam News, America’s most influential and oldest continuously-published Black newspaper, has recognized the gun violence epidemic for what it is: a public health crisis. Each day, on average, 30 Black Americans are killed by guns and in New York City in 2020 90% of gun victims were Black or Hispanic. 

Through our Beyond the Barrel of the Gun initiative, the New York Amsterdam News will be instrumental in raising awareness of how gun violence can be reduced in Black and Brown communities in New York City and nationwide. This initiative will be the largest investment in Black media on this issue.  

Our project is deeply informed by our ongoing national conversation with experts and leaders across the nation. Leveraging our 112 years of racial equity impact––most recently with our Publisher Elinor Tatum’s conception of Word in Black, a historic collaboration of Black newspaper publishers nationwide addressing racial inequity, we seek to create reporting for and by our communities.

Our initiative will:

Embed journalists in community-based, front line organizations fighting gun violence and its root causes. Not just for a day or a week but for months.

Our journalism will center the work of gun violence interrupters across all our  platforms which will elevate existing successful solutions in NYC and nationwide.

We will create and publish counter narratives to gun violence, advised by NYC and national experts, that will serve as a road map for other media, legislators and researchers.

Our journalism will highlight the solutions that seek to resolve the underlying problems that result in gun violence in Black and Brown communities. This is in contrast to typical media reporting that focuses only on the incidents of gun violence in Black and Brown communities––reinforcing and feeding the problem.

We will partner with other media organizations and connect lawmakers and community leaders in NYC and nationwide––empowering all to work in alignment to create positive change. By connecting the organizations, researchers, victims, lawmakers, and general public through town halls, convenings, social media and digital offerings we will facilitate the kind of deep change our communities need in order to solve the issue of gun violence.

We will create a website that features our reporting, highlights our partnerships, and showcases the research and community toolkits of best practices, available to all at no cost––to further drive positive change.

Measuring Success

Over the three years of our initiative we will:

Promote a reduction in violence driven by publishing and presenting more than 200 counter narratives which focus on the solutions to gun violence and its root causes and the all too often untold stories of what is going right.

We will organize at least 12 virtual and in person townhalls and convenings that will bring together stakeholders, build national momentum and deliver accessible, actionable tools for positive change.  

We will produce in-depth, long form explorations through our Blacklight investigative unit that will reshape the understanding of both the root causes of gun violence in Black and Brown communities––but also the positive solutions that are working nationwide. 

For example, all too often funds to address gun violence in Black and Brown communities stream to criminalization instead of funding solutions that address the problems that lead to gun violence. NY Amsterdam News intends on making a difference in this critical aspect of this public health crisis. 

Budget

Our three year budget reflects NY Amsterdam News’ determination to be a decisive change maker in reducing gun violence in Black and Brown communities. This proposal also reflects our goal to help build urgently needed diversity in the newsrooms, legislative chambers and community leaders of the future.

Our Three Year, $3 Million Budget has six strategic components:

50% for Leadership, Journalists, Photographers and Videographers

8% for Legislative and Media Partnership Coordinators

10% for interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities & other colleges 

7% for the initiative’s website & Best Practice Toolkits + related technology

5% for periodic virtual town halls and annual in-person convenings

20% in operating costs to ensure NY Amsterdam News’ deep investment in this initiative also allows for our 112 years of journalistic racial equity delivery to continue.

Gun violence kills thousands, and impacts hundreds of thousands Black and Brown Americans every year. While conventional thinking and journalism has led many to believe the problem is endemic and intractable, as a community-based Black newspaper we know better and have a plan to bring the solutions to the problem plaguing our communities to the surface. In order to do this we propose an initiative as bold as the problem we seek to address is large. We thank you for your consideration.

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