With funding from the Facebook Journalism Project, the NNPA Fund is preparing to launch the HBCU Digital Newsletter Initiative, an effort to engage black college journalism departments and campus media in creating audience focus digital newsletters. The program is designed to guide a group of 20 or more HBCU Sophomores and Juniors from two or more universities through the process of newsletter development.

Students will learn the essentials of a great newsletter, the role newsletters play in audience development, and how to target specific segments that lead to audience engagement. Not only should students come away empowered by their new ability to create a precise and sleek approach to developing newsletters, but they should understand the KPIs that tell the story of the health of their newsletter.

Hands-on workshops run through the spring and fall semesters from February through May, and conclude in November. Topics include:

  • Assessing the Audience
  • Format and Schedules
  • Production and Distribution
  • Measuring and Refining
  • Subject-line Writing
  • Newsletter production

The project manager for the initiative is Get Current Studio and its CEO Michael Grant commented on the importance of the program. “Online journalism continues to evolve. Yet many of the latest tools and techniques in audience development have not reached HBCUs who largely admit black students from underserved communities — and are themselves under-resourced. In partnership with NNPA, Get Current Studio is proud to have developed the HBCU Digital Newsletter Initiative. The program is designed to equip a group of budding journalists with a unique set of skills in newsletter development in an industry that demands this expertise.,” stated Grant.  Joining Grant in managing the initiative is Mark Washington, the editorial content lead on the project.

The benefits of the Newsletter Initiative are:

  • The Latest Thinking – From case studies to proven strategies, we share the current industry insights
  • Real-World Application – Students will learn quickly to trust their understanding of the user and their needs.
  • Facilitated Training – Carefully crafted workshop modules and exercises helps shape student understanding

Currently, the HBCU prospects are being interviewed and selected.