It’s. Been. A. Year.
URL Media announced itself to the world on Jan. 25, 2021. It was days after the inauguration of President Biden, and we feared the closure of one chapter of ugly American history might mean the resumption of business as usual. So as we said then, the next four years cannot look like the last four—or 400.
The idea for URL Media was born out of a desire to uplift the vital work that outlets like WURD Radio and the Haitian Times had been doing for decades – journalism in service of community. There were also the startups among us, livestream channels like TBN24 with millions of viewers or newsletters like Epicenter and Documented centering the real New York. All told, eight outlets took a massive leap of faith on our idea and we are forever grateful to them. A ninth, Sahan Journal, joined soon after. Our inaugural members include: Documented, Scalawag, TBN24, Epicenter NYC, WURD Radio, palabra., The Haitian Times and Scrollstack.
Today, we're also thrilled to announce our tenth partner and our first Indigenous member in Native News. Here's Levi Rickert telling us why...
Our premise remains simple: Band together to share content and revenue. We incorporated as a for-profit company with an eye toward building wealth creation to be impactful—and powerful, really—in a capitalist world.
We relied on the generosity of funders to get started, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Archewell, the Center for Cooperative Media, Democracy Fund, Knight-Lenfest Local Media Transformation Fund and the Knight Foundation, among them. We also benefited from amazing pro bono legal services from Ballard Spahr in Philly and the Cornell Law School First Amendment Center, along with informal advice and guidance from many brilliant business minds in the industry. Thank you, all.
Some milestones of our first year:
We launched a channel on Apple News for URL Media and our members.
We shared revenues from advertising and, separately, the Archewell grant (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s charity) with our partners.
We amplified the great work of our partners through media such as CBS, CNN, NPR, NBC, WHYY, WNYC, Reasons to Be Cheerful and many more.
We hired and shared a freelancer to cover New York City’s crowded primary, with a record number of candidates of color running.
We took WURD’s Lively-HOOD initiative on jobs and the economy national, supporting pieces on wage theft, Haitian entrepreneurs and struggling artists.
As co-founders, we sat on literally dozens of panels on the future of media, diversity, equity & inclusion, and the (fragile) state of democracy.
We identified an urgent need in the marketplace for recruiting, executive placement and coaching, working with more than a dozen newsrooms to place more than 25 candidates in media or media-adjacent roles, including multiple editors in chief and executives. This B2B arm is a thriving part of our business.
We decided to cover 100% of employee health insurance in an effort to center self-care and the health of our Black and Brown communities.
Importantly, we grew our newsletter to a weekly cadence! Subscribe here.
What we need from you in 2022:
We also hope to land more advertising and sponsorship deals. Interested or have a lead? Email email@example.com.
We have an ambitious plan to cover the midterm elections. Want to learn more or help us find funding? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spread the word on doing business with us. We help organizations, big and small, diversify their workplaces. Importantly, we help talented candidates of color decode the path into leadership and opportunity, affirming their excellence along the way.
Please join us to celebrate our anniversary and look ahead to the most pressing issues of 2022 and the future of Black and Brown media. We’ll be livestreaming and simulcasting on WURD Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 4:30-5:30 pm EST (and meet our next partner in Native News!).
We are inspired and guided by our partner organizations and their service to our communities. We both run our own news organizations, WURD and Epicenter-NYC, which makes for packed calendars and dizzying days, but we also believe this keeps URL Media’s news agenda firmly (grass)rooted. It is from this needed perspective that we plan to continue to disrupt power structures and change the narrative in 2022 and beyond. Thank you for joining us — and keeping on.
Uplift. Respect. Love. (So much love).
Sara and Mitra
Co-Founders, URL Media