Late last month, the Los Angeles Times laid off more than 100 of some of the most talented journalists in the nation — many of them were journalists of color.

Following the layoffs, Tina Vásquez, editor-at-large of URL Media partner Prism, was left wondering how the American public at large can be expected to value the work produced by reporters of color when industry leaders seemingly don’t.

It’s a question I have asked myself throughout my nearly 15 years in the news industry. It’s a question I asked myself when the Chicago Tribune announced in 2019 that it would halt publication of Hoy, its Spanish-language weekly. It’s a question I asked myself again last year when The Dallas Morning news announced it would discontinue its Spanish-language publication Al Día.

And it’s a question I found myself asking again last month as I saw layoff after layoff announced on X, formerly Twitter. As Vásquez noted, more than half of those laid off were journalists of color from both the paper’s D.C. bureau and De Los, a new vertical targeting Latinx audiences, absolutely gutted.

But while legacy news outlets seem determined to undo any progress made since the media reckoning of 2020, independent news outlets like URL Media’s partner organizations give me hope that BIPOC journalists will continue to find ways to tell the stories that matter to their communities.

As one of URL Media’s newest partners, AsAmNews, founder Randall Yip said starting the outlet in 2012 was a way to give back to his community and correct inaccurate and incomplete narratives about the wildly diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

“Mainstream news outlets lack diverse voices to ensure they tell relevant and nuanced stories about the communities they serve,” he said in an email. “Their stories are told from the perspective of the majority culture, and not the communities they are trying to cover. This lack of nuance can sometimes lead to not only inaccurate and misleading reporting, but in the worst case, offensive stories lacking in sensitivity.”

This desire to correct dominant narratives and produce news content that fills the information needs of their audiences is a common thread across the URL Media network. For URL Media partner Documented, this takes the shape of reporting stories from within the community.

“It’s not parachute reporting,” Amir Khafagy, a reporter covering labor for Documented, said in an interview with Ethnic Media Services. “It’s not someone coming from outside.”

This is also the core approach of URL Media partner Native News Online, founded in 2011 by publisher Levi Rickert, an award-winning American Indian journalist and tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

“We don’t just cover Native News,” the outlet’s 2022 impact report said. “We also bring a Native perspective and elevate Native voices with our journalism.”

And though there’s no shortage of grim news when it comes to legacy media outlets, I’m heartened by the work BIPOC news outlets are doing to center and prioritize the needs of their communities.

“This is a relatively new trend in mainstream journalism right now, but this is fundamental and foundational for our BIPOC media organizations,” Sara Lomax, URL Media co-founder, said in an interview with Poynter. “Our business models are intimately connected to service, filling gaps that exist not just in the media but in society.”

It’s a model that I’m happy to see expand across the independent news industry, and one that I hope you’ll support so we can continue to have these important voices for generations to come. — Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.

Alicia Ramirez authors URL Media's Friday newsletter and pens our Saturday newsletter, The Intersection. She is also founder of The Riverside Record, a community-first, nonprofit digital newsroom serving people living and working in Riverside County, California.