I cannot say enough how proud I am of Shawn Williams, the founder of DallasSouthBlog. Not only is he making regular appearances on WFAA, CNN and editorals in the Dallas Morning News - now he is launching an online newspaper, Dallas South News. I "met" Shawn online during the 2008 Election season because he would host live chats during the debates and as these were my pre-Twitter days, I was in political geek heavan. Shawn first gained national attention as a result of his Jena 6 commentary.
The news release issued today shows how well though out the plan is, and includes an impressive roster of supporters for this nonprofit media organization. As headlines are filled with the news that African American mainstay media such as Johnson's Ebony & Jet, are struggling, DallasSouth is instead following others in a new path to redefine media: nonprofit support through foundations.
As the headlines are filled with doom and gloom for the newspaper business across the country, NPR has not suffered as hard as their for-profit rivals. As more and more journalists, who love what they do, are being laid off, they are taking matters into their own hands. After all, they tried joining the blogging/twitting world and while it may have gained more fans, it did not add much money apparently.
Huffington Post launched an Investigative Reporting branch and ProPublicA was recently created.
The professional journalists argue that noble and good intention though some bloggers may be, they do not have the training, understanding and when necessary the backing needed to tackle investigative journalism. Think about it can a blogger stand up to the pressure of City Hall or Federal Government offical attempting to smear or even arrest someone to kill a scandal in the making?
Poynter Online has an excellent article on the nonprofit route these media warriors are taking. As someone who depends on NPR, I still caution we will have to be careful. Many of these private foundations are investing in media because of their concern of what will happen if the Fourth Estate is not healthy in America. However, we must be realistic and keep a cautious eye on who is investing and why.
In the meantime, congrads to Shawn Williams, the founding Editor of Dallas South News. While they finalize their plans for launch, if you are not reading DallasSouthBlog now, what are you waiting for?
DALLAS NONPROFIT NEWSPAPER OPENS NEWSROOM AND HIRES LOCAL WRITER/BLOGGER TO SERVE AS EDITOR
Former Dallas Morning News Exec and Current Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editor part of Board
Dallas, TX - The Board of Directors for Dallas South News announced its progress towards launching a new nonprofit online newspaper. The organization recently opened their newsroom at the Southside on Lamar in the historic Sears Building. The board held its first meeting on June 27th.
Dallas South News will utilize professional journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers, and volunteers to cover issues that are relevant to residents of Southern Dallas.
The board also announced the hiring of Shawn P. Williams to serve as editor of the newspaper. Williams has published the critically acclaimed blog, Dallas South, for the past three years, and is a frequent guest columnist for the Dallas Morning News.
“Dallas South News provides a unique opportunity for the residents of Dallas,” Williams says. “As legacy media outlets continue to evolve, the nonprofit model empowers citizen journalists to help fill the void left by budget cuts and staff reductions,” he says.
The Dallas South News’ Board of Directors contains a variety of experience including members of both traditional and new media; including, Evelyn Henry Miller, a financial executive whose most recent role was as executive vice president for The Dallas Morning News, A.H. Belo’s flagship newspaper.
Also on the Dallas South News Board of Directors is veteran journalist Bob Ray Sanders. Sanders currently serves as Associate Editor and Senior Columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sanders also worked many years in public broadcasting at KERA-TV Channel 13, the Dallas/Fort Worth PBS affiliate.
Other board members include blogger and Central Dallas Ministries Education Director Janet Morrison; Marcia Page, President and CEO of the Foundation for Community Empowerment; Paul Stafford, Former Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors; and Jeff West, former Executive Director of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Dallas South News has registered with the State of Texas, and is currently awaiting a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service. The launch of the website is planned for early August of this year.