AfroLA hopes to fill news gaps for L.A.’s Black communities

The mission of the newly launched digital-only news source is to deliver news that interests Black Los Angelenos through the lens of the Black community residing in the metropolitan area.

A newly launched digital-only news source in Los Angeles aims to serve Black communities through the lens of the Black community residing in the metropolitan area. 

“Mainstream media does not prioritize the dignity, strength and pride of Black L.A.,” said Co-founder/Executive Director Dana Amihere in a news release. “Our stories are more than painful and tragic. We’re normalizing narratives of people living their everyday lives.”

According to its mission statement, AfroLA aims “to find, celebrate and share intersectionality and universality in the Black experience.”

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AfroLA, a newly launched digital-only news source in Los Angeles, plans to deliver news that interests Black Los Angelenos through the lens of the Black community. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The website notes that the goal of the digital news outlet — which will also amplify marginalized voices with “equity and inclusion” as its foundation — “is to provide coverage of issues that matter to anyone who reads it” but “with a distinctly Black voice.” AfroLA publishes “a mix of original stories and republished content from mission-aligned news outlets,” according to the news release.

The news site built its editorial strategy based on feedback from an online news needs survey and in-person interviews. The responses yielded clear data about what to cover and how, according to the news release. Amihere explained to the Reynolds Journalism Institute that one way AfroLA is reaching the audiences it wants to serve is through ongoing direct conversations at in-person community events and community listening sessions online via Zoom.

“We wanted to be really upfront and clear about not only what we’re about, but why we’re making certain decisions and what impact community feedback and opinions have had on the work that we’re doing,” she explained in the press release.  “We’re not just operating in a black box. We’re trying really hard to listen first and act upon what we’re hearing.”

Black contributors from the local communities, such as high school and college students as well as community members, will produce a large portion of AfroLA’s digital content, the website states.

Amihere and Director of Operations Steven Smith conceptualized AfroLA in November 2021. What started as a conversation over drinks, during which the two journalists unpacked their frustrations about L.A.’s local news scene, resulted in a plan to fill the gaps in local news coverage.

Last April, AfroLA made its online and social media debut.

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