Leaders to gather in Newark to re-imagine the future of black storytelling


Posted October 7, 2019                                                                                                            

NEWARK -- More than 100 people will gather Wednesday at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark for The Black Media Story Summit New Jersey to re-imagine the future of black storytelling from development to production to distribution.

What: The Black Story Summit New Jersey
Where: NJIT, 150 Bleeker St. #1982, Newark, NJ 07102
When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019
Who: Invite-Only. RSVP for wait list (or share your email with us to receive followup materials) 
Questions? Please contact Gregory Warren, gregory@blackpublicmedia.org

The full-day event features panels and round-table discussions highlighting opportunities and challenges for black filmmakers, journalists, and content-creators and how to creatively amplify local social justice issues for action. It is part of a series hosted by Black Public Media, which celebrates its 40th anniversary supporting diverse voices by developing, producing, and distributing innovative media about the black experience and by investing in visionary content makers in 2020. 

“Right now is a critical time to work together to ensure nuanced black stories are increasingly being told and seen,” said said Leslie Fields-Cruz, executive director of Black Public Media (BPM), previously known as the National Black Programming Consortium. “It is important we support black content-creators here in Newark so their stories and perspectives reach more communities across the country.”

The Black Media Story Summit New Jersey is co-presented by Black Public Media, Newark Arts, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. It is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the New Jersey Local News Lab Fund, a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

Featured speakers include award-winning producers and filmmakers, local film festival organizers, journalists, and funders, including leaders from Express Newark, Newark Museum Black Film Festival, Newark Public Media, New Jersey State Film Commission, and WHYY. Roundtable discussions are designed to pair advocates, community leaders, and funders with content-creators, and will be moderated by leaders from Clean Water Action, Institute of Social Justice, Ironbound Community Corporation, Newark Trust for Education, and WBGO, among other organizations.

Attendees are also invited to experience the possibilities of immersive storytelling in a virtual reality pop-up theater.

The Black Media Story Summit New Jersey is a lead-up event to the Newark Arts Festival, New Jersey’s largest multi-day celebration of the visual and performing arts which celebrates the rich diversity of the city’s expanding arts scene and welcomes the world to experience an exciting array of Newark-based and international artists in exhibits, forums, studio tours, performances, mural excursions, screenings, children’s events and more.

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Black Public Media and our partners in New Jersey to bring these conversations to Newark, where there is so much cultural richness,” said Meghan Van Dyk, Informed Communities program officer at the Dodge Foundation. “Black and brown stories are usually drowned out in the media and there are a lot of challenges content creators face in getting their stories told. How can we begin to change that?”

The host committee for the event includes: Doug Doyle of WBGO, Maurice Hall of the College of New Jersey, Stephanie Murray of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, Kim Pearson of The College of New Jersey, L. Martin Johnson Pratt of Philly Your Black News, Yucef Mayes of Express Newark, Pamela C. Morgan of Women In Media-Newark, Ramon G. Nazario of the Newark Latino Film Festival, Yvonne Michelle Shirley of The Newarkive, Kiymora Smith aka KayTheKreator, and James Thompson of Free Press.

Black Public Media is hosting regional black media story summits as a forum for black media professionals, technology partners, funders and other thought leaders and community advocates to discuss how to improve the current state and future of black storytelling. The first was held August in Durham, and the Newark event is followed by another in Houston in November, leading up to a national event in 2020. Black Public Media’s publication The Black Paper highlights conversations held at the inaugural Black Media Story Summit in April 2018. 

For more information, please contact Gregory Warren of Black Public Media at gregory@blackpublicmedia.org

In This Section


Black Public Media

Founded in 1979 as the National Black Programming Consortium, Black Public Media (BPM), provides seed money for projects along with opportunities for distribution through PBS. BPM’s thoughtful and compelling approach to selecting projects has resulted in supporting a host of award-winning and nominated films such as I am Not Your Negro. Today, after 40 years of historic work, BPM continues to leverage its expertise by investing in innovative content creators, and bringing dynamic programs about the Black experience that provoke, educate, and entertain on and off the screen.

Newark Arts

Newark Established in 1981, Newark Arts was created to advance and expand the resources and offerings of arts and cultural organizations in the great city of Newark, New Jersey. Newark Arts provides leadership, direction, and technical assistance through partnerships with Newark’s many artists, arts administrators, community organizations, community development corporations, planning groups, economic development agencies, and government agencies as well as the general public. Newark Arts’ goal is to share resources, develop collaborations and cross-functional opportunities, promote advocacy efforts, assist in audience development and public awareness of arts and culture, and serve as a cultural resource to the community. 

The New Jersey Local News Lab Fund

The New Jersey Local News Lab Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey is a collaborative fund that supports people and organizations working towards building a more connected, collaborative and sustainable  local news and information ecosystem in New Jersey. The Fund is locally-led and managed by an advisory group made up of local stakeholders, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Democracy Fund.





Gregory Warren, Black Public Media

Meghan Van Dyk, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation