Black By God The West Virginian is a developing community-led journalism venture seeking to fortify our civic infrastructure.
BBG’s Folk Reporters Program seeks citizens and civic actors, creators, and collaborators representing a broad base of intergenerational, diverse communities to explore the public meetings from City Councils to Public Service Commission meetings to the West Virginia State Legislature.
Black By God is anxious to develop and distribute content that monitors the West Virginia Legislature and local governments that will contribute to a communal pool of knowledge and speak to Black citizens.
We do this in tandem with Black Policy Day (Feb. 15, 2023) and our February Policy issue.
We are bringing the community together by democratizing news and information at the local level, focusing on Black issues and voices, and holding local government accountable to the people.
How Our Program Works
BBG launched the program in 2022 as a pilot in partnership with Los Angeles-based journalist Alicia Ramirez of the Riverside Record in Riverside County, California. This partnership is grounded in a shared commitment to serve rural communities by empowering everyday residents to bear witness and inform.
The heartbeat of the program is in volunteers who will attend one or more committee meetings during the legislative and interim sessions. We can’t do this without you. We call this WITNESS. The 2023 program will provide one (1) training along with a general guide of how the meetings generally work and what information to look for.
Folk Reporters can follow the template and guide, but those comfortable doing so can also branch out and record their initial impressions via social media in a Twitter thread or a Facebook or Instagram post. At the end of the committee meeting, Folk Reporters will be expected to complete this form, and BBG will post it across our platforms.
This will be the start of putting the power of the pen back into the hands of local community members to support and empower homegrown news coverage. Folk Reporters are the foundation for Black By God’s editorial mission; they can help to fill the current void of media and reporting in West Virginia.
This pilot project is modeled after Documenters.
Limited participation stipends are available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org