The Voices Initiative

The Voices Initiative

How do we transform local news so that it’s more inclusive and better serves all?
How do we transform local news so that it’s more inclusive and better serves all?

About the Project

In early 2021, Coloradans from across backgrounds, generations, regions and professions began meeting to tackle a series of questions: What would it take to ensure that local news coverage reflects, respects and reaches out to the state’s communities of color? What actions must newsrooms, community members and funders take to create a future in which communities of color share and shape the power of local news media?

The Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) in partnership with Colorado Media Project, and with the support of multiple co-sponsors, has convened community-led working groups to support an effort to answer those questions and push for action.

This work has given birth to four separate but related projects centering the voices of Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native/Indigenous Coloradans that continue to engage journalists and non-journalists to spark more questions, ideas and plans of action that will take us into a future where the media’s power is shared and expanded by communities of color.

We invite you to join upcoming conversations that can lead local newsrooms to center the stories, experiences and information needs of all Coloradans. 

The original Black Voices Colorado and Latinx Voices Colorado conversations, resulting in two separate working group reports, took place as part of News Voices: Colorado — a project of Free Press in collaboration with the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) and Colorado Media Project.

Join the Conversation

Starting in March 2022, AAPI Community Liaisons and other Asian community leaders will be co-facilitating a series of conversations to gather information on improving access to trustworthy news and information that accurately reflects the realities of AAPI Coloradans. 

These five specific working group sessions are meant as a space for people who identify as AAPI. We invite you to join us for one or more of these sessions to share your experiences, thoughts and insights. 

Please select the meeting time or times that work best for you using this form: bit.ly/AAPIvoicesregistration. If there is someone else from your network or colleagues who you think would be interested, please share the link with them and invite them to join us, too. 

If you don’t identify as a member of an AAPI community but are interested in this work, we invite you to sign up for the The Voices Initiative here to stay informed about future opportunities.

The Four Voices Projects

AAPI Voices

Starting in March 2022, several Asian community leaders will be co-facilitating a series of conversations to gather information on improving access to trustworthy news and information that accurately reflects the realities of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Coloradans.

These conversations will be hosted by the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) and Colorado Media Project (CMP, a consortium of foundations) as part of the larger Voices Initiative that started in 2021 with separate Black and Latinx conversations, each of which came up with recommendations on what needs to change (see Black Voices here and Latinx Voices here).

This year, COLab and CMP are dedicated to creating spaces to listen to and engage with members of Colorado AAPI communities including journalists, community leaders, organizers and philanthropists from across the state to identify best practices, practical supports, structural changes, and potential projects that can lead local newsrooms to center the stories, experiences and news and information needs of AAPI Coloradans. 

There will be five 90-minute sessions over the next two months. The goal, much like the Black and Latinx Voices groups, is to come up with recommendations for concrete projects or system improvements that COLab (with its 160+ newsroom members) and CMP can help implement. By gathering AAPI leaders across the state, the recommendations generated by the working group will be supported institutionally through CMP, COLab and other project partners. 

Some of the guiding questions for these conversations: 

  • What are the existing assets and infrastructures that can be brought together to ensure AAPI Coloradans have access to the information they need? 
  • How can newsroom leaders and community leaders gather their collective assets to bolster news and information circles that serve the needs of AAPI Coloradans? 
  • What information needs are not being met? 
  • What do AAPI Coloradans want in their news? 
  • What do they find useful and helpful on a day-to-day basis? 
  • What are steps that newsrooms, reporters and editors need to take in order to ensure these needs are fulfilled?

Kickoff Event

Watch — AAPI Open House

On the anniversary of the 2021 Atlanta shootings, Asian Avenue Magazine’s Annie VanDan, Asian Pacific Development Center’s Harry Budisidharta, The Colorado Sun’s Thy Vo and Colorado Dragon Boat Festival’s Sara Moore came together to discuss the importance of engaging with news media on how it portrays Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and community members in the news….

AAPI Voices Community Liaisons

  • Gil Asakawa

  • Frances Campbell

  • Joie Ha

  • Sara Moore

Black Voices

In early 2021, News Voices: Colorado — a collaboration among the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab), Colorado Media Project and Free Press — convened the Black Voices Working Group. The group, made up of Black leaders, storytellers, journalists, funders and community members, focused on how to improve access to trustworthy news and information for Black residents throughout the state and sought tangible ways for communities, philanthropy and newsrooms to acknowledge and address the harms — historic and ongoing — local media coverage has inflicted on Black communities.

The Black Voices Working Group developed five key recommendations, detailed in its report, which can be found below: ‘The time is right now:’ A call to action from Black Coloradans for anti-racist and just local news.

Reflections

Black Voices Community Liaisons

  • Philip Clapham

  • Ammiee Brown

  • Natalie Williams

Latinx Voices

In the spring of 2021, a group of Latinx Coloradans from across generations, regions and professions began meeting to tackle a series of questions: What would it take to ensure that local news coverage reflects, respects and reaches out to the state’s Latinx communities? What actions must newsrooms, community members and funders take to create a future in which Latinx communities have the power to prevent the media from sidelining, stereotyping and silencing them?

Our conversations took place as part of News Voices: Colorado — a project of Free Press in collaboration with the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) and Colorado Media Project. The organizations convened the working group to support a community-led effort to answer those questions and to push for action. History has proven that without community pressure, newsrooms — like most institutions of power — are slow to change.

The Latinx Voices working group developed 4 key recommendations, detailed in its report, “‘Think Big. Act Now.’ A call to action from Latinx Coloradans for equitable and just local news.”

Reflections

Native/Indigenous Voices

Later in 2022, the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) and Colorado Media Project (CMP) will be creating spaces to listen to and engage with members of Colorado Native and Indigenous communities including journalists, community leaders, organizers and philanthropists from across the state.

Please sign up to stay connected with this work. 

Impact

Silvia Solis, Community Engagement Director for the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab), is leading this project in collaboration with other partners. 

Reflections

Related Opportuntities