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Baltimore Beat nonprofit news publication makes return to print, online

A team of journalists and nonprofit practitioners led by Editor-in-Chief Lisa Snowden announced Friday the return of Baltimore Beat, a Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper and online outlet.

In the traditions of the Black press and the alternative weekly, Baltimore Beat’s community-focused reporting prioritizes thoughtful engagement with local readers especially those with limited internet access and those who are a part of underrepresented communities.

To make sure news gets to those with the least access, the Beat will begin publishing and distributing a free newspaper every other week starting this summer, with plans to expand distribution and frequency of publication over time. For Snowden, formerly an editor at The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper and The Real News Network, free print news is a necessity in Baltimore, a majority Black city with a significant digital divide and many people living below the poverty line.

Baltimore Beat will rely on support from Baltimore readers and likeminded large-scale donors who understand that reporting must reflect the diversity and experiences of all Baltimoreans and hold those in power accountable through investigative work, literary storytelling, and service journalism.

Joining Snowden is Baltimore Beat’s Deputy Editor J. Brian Charles, who has been reporting on Baltimore gun violence at The Trace for the past two years and has previously worked at Chalkbeat, Governing and The Hill.

The Beat’s Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson is formerly a staff writer for BmoreArt and gallery coordinator for Connect + Collect, and is the author of the 2021 book, “Black Collagists.”

The Beat’s Director Of Operations Brandon Soderberg is the former editor-in-chief of Baltimore City Paper, co-author of the 2020 book “I Got a Monster,” and an advocate for mindful, person-first journalism.

Baltimore Beat was established in 2017 after the closure of the alt-weekly institution City Paper. The Beat began as a for-profit weekly newspaper, shuttered in 2018, and transitioned to a nonprofit online outlet focused on service journalism and high-impact investigative work in 2019.

In 2020, the Beat paused its journalistic operation to strategize the start of a nonprofit newspaper with support from the Baltimore-based Lillian Holofcener Charitable Foundation.

In response to the death of George Floyd and inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, The Lillian Holofcener Charitable Foundation provided the Beat with the majority of the foundation’s holdings, creating a longer runway toward sustainability for the publication.

On May 15 at 1 p.m. at Baltimore bookstore Greedy Reads’ community literature festival The Lost Weekend, Snowden and Soderberg will discuss the return of the Beat on the Future of Journalism panel.