Black Media: Reflecting on the Past and Reimagining the Future

Doris Truong portrait.

Doris Truong

Doris Truong is senior director of teaching and diversity strategies at the Poynter Institute. She specializes in leadership, ethics and instilling a culture of diversity, equity and belonging. She has worked for The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She served as national president of the Asian American Journalists Association and a board member of the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Moiz Syed portrait.

Moiz Syed

Moiz Syed is a designer, developer and data journalist based in Portland, ME. He works for Mozilla as a product design lead for Pocket. Previously he worked at ProPublica, The Intercept, and Wikimedia Foundation.

Cheryl Thompson-Morton portrait.

Cheryl Thompson-Morton

In her role as Black Media Initiative Director for the Center for Community Media at the Newmark J-School, Cheryl Thompson-Morton works to support Black media outlets through training, research, convenings, and connecting them to financial resources. Cheryl also currently co-leads Poynter’s Transforming Crime Coverage to Public Safety coverage class, a change management program made to make reporting of crime more ethical. Previously, she was program manager for the Lenfest Institute for Journalism in Philadelphia, where she created, launched, and executed several initiatives to increase equity in news media. These include the Lenfest Next Generation Fund, the Community Listening and Engagement Fund, and the Philadelphia News Ecosystem Collaboration Grant Program.

Ana Christina Ramon portrait.

Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón

Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón is the inaugural Director of the Entertainment and Media Research Initiative (EMRI) at UCLA. The initiative is housed in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE). Dr. Ramón is a social psychologist who has worked on social justice issues related to equity and access in higher education and the entertainment industry for about two decades. As the founding director of EMRI, she manages the research initiative, which produces the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report series, and additional research projects on entertainment and media. She is now the lead author of the bi-annual Hollywood Diversity Report. She co-edited a book (with Dr. Darnell Hunt) titled “Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities” (New York University Press, 2010). She is the inaugural Latino Film Institute Scholar. Dr. Ramón has a B.A. in psychology from Stanford, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Paolo Guadiano portrait.

Paolo Gaudiano

Paolo Gaudiano is President of ARC, Chief Scientist of Aleria, Adjunct Associate Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, and Chairman of the annual Diversity & Inclusion Research Conference. These activities combine Paolo’s decades of experience in business, technology and academia, to transform how people think about diversity and what they do about it, with the ultimate goal of making our society more inclusive and equitable. Paolo is a Forbes contributor on Diversity & Inclusion, has written for and been interviewed by a number of other media outlets, and is a sought-after public speaker, having given hundreds of presentations in the US and abroad, including a TED talk. He holds degrees in Applied Mathematics, Aerospace Engineering and Computational Neuroscience, and is the recipient of numerous awards including a Moonshot House Fellowship from the Kravis Center for Social Impact (2019), a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research (1996), and a Neuroscience Fellowship from the Sloan Foundation (1992). He was a tenured faculty member at Boston University and he taught at Tufts University and CUNY before joining NYU.

Christopher Hope portrait.

Chris Hope

Chris Hope is a multifaceted entrepreneur and educator, known for his remarkable contributions to the field of media entrepreneurship and advancing equity and social justice. As the founder of The Loop Lab (, Loop Lab Studio (, and DEI consultancy, Equity Intelligence (, he has pioneered initiatives that foster innovation, creativity, and equity in media production and education. Currently serving as an instructor at Boston University’s College of Communication, Chris brings his expertise and passion to empower aspiring entrepreneurs and shape the future of media.

Anthony Harrison

Anthony Harrison is passionate about the power of words. He loves a well-turned phrase and the impact of a powerful story. That is what brought him to public relations over 20 years ago. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications, Anthony’s career is built on telling powerful and compelling stories about everything from telephones (Verizon) to lattes (Starbucks) to Mickey Mouse (Disney); from the paper of record (The NY Times) and the world’s best-known software, (Microsoft) and most recently, the largest social network on the planet (Facebook). He prides himself on finding and telling stories that engage people and change their opinions. Stories that build or renew a reputation.

Fatou B. Barry

Fatou B. Barry is a communications strategist, equity advocate, and community builder. As the founder of PR Girl Manifesto, she leads a thriving platform uniting over 40,000 PR and Comm professionals worldwide, reimagining the industry through valuable resources and mentorship. Additionally, as the co-founder of Hold The Press, Fatou champions accountability and transparency in public relations for Black PR professionals. Fatou’s work is driven by a deep desire to close the equity gap for traditionally underserved talent. Her focus is on creating opportunities to grow and amplify talent that is often overlooked.

Lynn Sitanimezi smiling portrait.

Lynn Sitanimezi

Lynn Sitanimezi is a values-based leader committed to building and sustaining diverse and inclusive workplace cultures. She envisions a world where personal and social circumstances are not obstacles to achieving human potential, and where humanity, inclusivity, and conservations succeed. A global speaker, entrepreneur, educator, and DEI leader, her mission is to provide services, tools, and resources that inspire human potential and inclusivity awareness to initiate action in workplaces. As Principal OD and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leader at Driven Aligned Leadership Group Canada, she provides high-level solutions and recommendations to leadership teams and supports organizations in transforming and propelling their DEI&B strategies.  Furthermore, Sitanimezi helps leaders intentionally and systematically foster commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): driving positive outcomes to not only be diversity ready but inclusive in their leadership practices.

Shauna Nuckles smiling portrait.

Shauna Nuckles

Shauna Nuckles is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Advocation, a company that de-stresses agency teams by solving their biggest operational challenges.Nuckles is known among clients and colleagues for rolling up her sleeves to build the best practices that agencies of the future need today. She’s worked with hundreds of agency professionals and mentored more than 3,000, tracking elaborate trends and data on the processes & systems that work and the ones that fail. She’s become a respected voice in her industry with organizations and media outlets sourcing Nuckles’ insights on the future of work, equity & inclusion and navigating the stressors that come with the job.

Kimberly Johnson serious portrait.

Kimberly S. Johnson

Kimberly S. Johnson is a nationally recognized newsroom leader with more than 25 years of business journalism experience spanning digital, print, broadcast and radio.

She has worked as a business journalist in newsrooms across the country and spent time in West Africa covering business and finance. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, including recognition for the Journal’s 2021 project on the Tulsa Race Massacre. Ms. Johnson is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and co-chairs the Business Journalism Task Force, which aims to grow the number of Black journalists pursuing careers in financial journalism.


Mark Walton

Mark Walton is currently an Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Media Management at The New School in New York. He has devoted much of his professional career to helping independent content creators plus an array of media organizations develop sustainable marketing and distribution models. Most recently, Mark was President of Sales & Marketing for One Caribbean Television, and prior to that he was a member of the senior management team that launched The Africa Channel in the US and the UK.

Over his thirty-five-year career, Mark has also been a TV program syndicator as well as a founding partner at KJM3 Entertainment, the independent film distribution company that successfully marketed Julie Dash’s Daughters Of the Dust and Raoul Peck’s The Man By The Shore. Mark began his career at the CBS Television Network in marketing. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s College of Communication, where he earned his BS in journalism and currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board.

Mark holds a Master’s from the Yale School of Management and was most recently the Co-Chair of the Council on Anti-racism and Equity.

Akoto Ofori Atta smiling portrait.

Akoto Ofori-Atta

Akoto Ofori-Atta is Cofounder and Chief Audience Officer of Capital B, a local and national news organization reporting for Black communities. She was previously Managing Editor at The Trace, where she was responsible for partnerships, special projects, and editorial operations. She’s also held the positions of Associate Editor and Social Media Manager at The Root and Senior Editor at Essence Magazine. In 2015, she completed a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University, where she focused on issues surrounding diversity and the Black press.

Kelundra Smith smiling portrait.

Kelundra Smith

Kelundra Smith, managing editor at American Theatre Magazine, is a theatre critic, arts journalist, and playwright whose mission is to connect people to cultural experiences and each other. She likes to write stories about people with lofty ambitions. Her work has been published in: The New York Times, ESPN, Food & Wine, The Home Edit, American Theatre, Garden & Gun, Bitter Southerner, Atlanta Magazine, and many other publications. 

Tina McDuffie smiling portrait.

Tina McDuffie

Tina McDuffie is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning & Emmy nominated television-radio reporter and host in Boston. McDuffie is the host of the Local, USA series on WORLD Channel Network, a national half-hour news documentary program. WORLD Channel is seen in roughly 33 million United States Households and is based at WGBH in Boston. McDuffie is also an associate professor of the practice of journalism at Boston University. McDuffie has reported regularly for the WGBH local television program Greater Boston and has served as a fill-in host for the stations long-standing television program Basic Black. On the radio side, she reported for 89.7 FM during the local broadcasts of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She has contributed to: NPR, PBS Newshour, KPBS and WGBY. McDuffie also contributed to the Huffington Post.

Latoya Peterson smiling portrait.

Latoya Peterson

Latoya Peterson lives at the intersection of emerging technology and culture. She is cofounder and CXO at Glow Up Games, an award-winning game studio centering storytelling around black and brown joy. Glow Up Games recently launched their first title set in the world of HBO’s Insecure and is working on a rap-focused playable experience tied to live events. Previously, she was the Deputy Editor, Digital Innovation for ESPN’s The Undefeated, an Editor-at-Large at Fusion, and the Senior Digital Producer for The Stream, a social media driven news show on Al Jazeera America. In 2018, she soft launched AI in the Trap, a collaborative art project that explores the future of artificial intelligence and predictive policing through a hip-hop lens. In 2016, she produced a critically acclaimed YouTube series on Girl Gamers that was highlighted on Spotify. She is currently on the advisory board of the Data & Society Institute and the board of visitors for The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships. She is also part of the selection committee for the Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Tre'vell Anderson

Tre’vell Anderson (they/them) is an award-winning journalist, noted podcast host, and authoress doing world-changing work around society and culture. Named to The Root’s 2020 list of the 100 most influential African Americans, they have dedicated their career to centering those in the margins, grey spaces, and at the intersections of life. Tre’vell co-hosts two podcasts, Crooked Media’s “What A Day” and Maximum Fun’s “FANTI.” Founder and Chief Imagination Officer of Slayzhon, Inc., they are also the authoress of “We See Each Other: A Black, Trans Journey Through TV and Film” and “Historically Black Phrases: From ‘I Ain’t One Of Your Lil’ Friends’ to ‘Who All Gon’ Be There?’” (September 2023).

Whitney Simon smiling portrait.

Whitney Simon

Whitney Simon is an Account Director at Missive, a London-based independent communications & PR consultancy that specializes in technology, where she works with various B2B tech brands that span across enterprise, telecoms, Fintech, and more. She originally started her career in Boston, working at a consumer PR agency before moving to San Francisco where she was introduced to the world of tech PR. Four years ago, Whitney made the move across the pond where she has continued to build her knowledge and expertise in the European tech scene, as well as in the DE&I space. With a passion for telling stories of how technology can be used to create a more equitable world, she is the DE&I lead at her agency where she advises and supports her clients with making meaningful progress toward creating inclusive workplaces, products and services. Over the course of her career, she has worked with various non-profits and social enterprises focussed on getting more people from underrepresented backgrounds into the tech sector, including Out & Equal, Code2040, Black Girls Code, and Nex Cubed.

Frances Draper smiling portrait.

Frances Murphy Draper, D.Min.

Dr. Frances Murphy Draper has been a community leader in her native Baltimore for decades, with leadership positions in the AME Zion Church, journalism and education. In February 2018, she was named chairman of the board and publisher of the 130-year-old AFRO American Newspapers ( An author of two books, Dr. Draper serves on several boards and is a founding member of Word in Black ( where she is Board Chair.

In 2021, the Local Media Association (LMA) named her “Content and Audience Innovator of the Year” and in 2022 the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) voted her “Publisher of the Year.”

Dr. Xenia Bhembe smiling portrait.

Xenia Johnson Bhembe

Dr Xenia Johnson Bhembe is a Double Board Certified senior psychiatrist in the Boston area with over twenty years of practice. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Director of Community Minority Affairs at Cambridge Health Alliance, she has served in direct clinical care, medical student education and community outreach. She currently serves as the Director of Behavioral Health at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, a primary care integrated care service and has become known by growing a network of leaders in the greater Boston area committed to equity and cultural understanding for vulnerable families. In 2020 Dr Johnson Bhembe founded a nonprofit organization, The Race Recovery Project a community based initiative to aid Black Americans combat the internalized negative effects of anti-black racism.

Femi Redwood smiling portrait.

Femi Redwood

Femi Redwood is an award-winning TV and audio journalist who is not afraid to ask tough questions or have uncomfortable conversations that lead to teachable moments. Most recently, Femi was a host and managing producer of podcasts at Audacy’s NYC news stations, 1010 WINS and WCBS Newsradio 880. In this position she launched several successful shows, including Beyond Black History Month, a weekly narrative podcast that celebrated Black culture while amplifying issues important to marginalized communities, which she also hosted. Femi is the co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBTQ+ Task Force and a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists. Follow @FemiRedwood

Michelle Hurd serious portrait.

Michelle Hurd

Michelle Hurd can currently be seen starring opposite Patrick Stewart in Paramount+’s Star Trek: Picard. Hurd recently completed production on the Will Gluck rom-com Anyone But You with Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, as well as Somewhere in Montana and the comedy The Plus One. In addition to her explosive performance as “Shepherd” on NBC’s hit drama, Blindspot, Michelle was recently seen on FOX’s action crime series, Lethal Weapon. Hurd is also known for her roles in Starz’s hit horror comedy Ash Vs. Evil Dead, the Marvel Universe series’ Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and the A&E summer series, The Glades. Other television credits include: Pose, Hawaii Five-0, Devious Maids, 90210, Witches of East End, How To Get Away With Murder, Bosch, Mysteries of Laura, Pretty Little Liars, Raising Hope, The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, Gossip Girl, ER, Bones, According To Jim, Law & Order, Smith, Skin, Leap Years, Charmed, The O.C., Kevin Hill, The Practice and Another World. Other film credits include Bad Hair, Being Frank opposite Jim Gaffigan, Be Afraid, We Don’t Belong Here, Search Engines, Within The Dark, Girl Most Likely, Random Hearts, Personals, Double Parked, Wolf and King of New York. Theater credits include: The Dog in the Manger (Shakespeare Theatre Company), AMI (MCC), Getting Away with Murder (Broadway), The Violet Hour (Off-Broadway), Looking for the Pony (Off-Broadway), and 900 Oneonta (Off-Broadway). Hurd is a proud alumnus of NYC’s premiere artist community at Westbeth. Follow @ItsMichelleHurd

Brianne Garrett smiling portrait.

Brianne Garrett

Brianne Garrett is a journalist and editor focused on food, lifestyle and entrepreneurship in addition to amplifying Black and Brown voices. She is currently managing editor for Ayesha Curry’s Sweet July brand. She was an editor at Forbes, where she led content and programming to create equitable pathways for creatives of color and, before that, explored the intersection of wine, food and pop culture for Wine Spectator. At the heart of Brianne’s work are stories for the soul.

Russell Hornsby serious portrait.

Russell Hornsby

Russell Hornsby stars in the Starz’s drama BLACK MAFIA FAMILY from G-Unit Films And Television in conjunction with Lionsgate. He will next be seen starring as Don King in Hulu’s Mike Tyson mini-series IRON MIKE.

Hornsby starred in the Oscar-nominated film FENCES, opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Hornsby also recently starred opposite Regina King in the critically acclaimed Netflix mini-series SEVEN SECONDS, from Veena Sud (“The Killing”), appeared in an arc in Showtime’s THE AFFAIR and in the box office hit sequel CREED II opposite Michael B. Jordan. Russell also starred in the Fox series PROVEN INNOCENT from showrunner Danny Strong and in the titular role in NBC’s LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR.