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Inside Capital B ATL

What Black Atlanta Wants From the News

A mural of U.S. Rep. John Lewis against the Atlanta skyline
A mural of U.S. Rep John Lewis is seen on the side of a building in Atlanta. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

At Capital B Atlanta, community engagement is at the heart of our reporting. This means that you, our readers, come first. Civic journalism is an essential service for all Black residents across Atlanta, and we want to deliver reporting that directly meets your needs. 

So how exactly are we going to do that? We want to talk to you! Capital B ATL will connect with you to get you and your neighbors the information you need to live, work, play, and vote in your city. Whether it’s in-person or on social media, we’ll ask you about the questions you have and challenges you face in Atlanta. And we’ll bring what you tell us back to our newsroom to report on what will be useful to you. Together, we’ll work to strengthen the quality of information available to all Black Atlantans. 

And we’ve already started. For the past few weeks, we’ve connected with folks on social media and hit the proverbial streets — virtual community meetings, recreation centers, and even Value Village — to ask Black Atlantans directly: What are your hopes for the new city leadership? What’s missing from local news media coverage? What do you want to see from Capital B?

From gentrification and healthcare concerns to holding city government accountable, here is what we’ve heard so far.

On what residents want to see from local news media:

“Holding the city’s feet to the fire on racial equity. The city government is getting away with no real, or very inconsistent, racial equity practices. I think creating pressure on them through transparent journalism, that really shows accountability.”

– Zach Murray, organizing director for The Guild, Lakewood Heights

On what local news media can do differently:

“People wouldn’t know anything about Southwest Atlanta unless they’re told by a source. And those sources almost universally associate Southwest with Black folks that are poor, and crime.  At the end of the day there’s plenty of Black people in Atlanta that have the means to buy these homes and they’re choosing to live in other places because of the information that they’ve heard, and quite frankly, they’re wrong. I would love for journalists to dispel this myth so that we can start with African Americans of means actually moving in. And then from there, we lift up the rest of us.” 

– Randall Frazier, accounting and finance professional, Capitol View

On issues that affect Black residents:

“I’m interested in the social determinants of health: equity, economics, education, and housing. Those things are important; how the African-American community is impacted in these areas by policy and how meaningful engagement can be beneficial for the city and its residents.”

– Gwen Smith, grocer, Collier Heights

I see a lot of reporting on the Pittsburgh [community] and gentrification. Whenever there’s a narrative about this community, there’s always a source that’s trying to play devil’s advocate or in favor of gentrification. … We want to see improvements within the community [too], but I feel like that’s not a complete analysis of what has been going on.”

 – Kwame Olufemi, community organizer, Pittsburgh

On decisions to preserve the city’s history: 

“I want to see more advocacy for historic places here in Atlanta. We’ve watched the evolution of so many neighborhoods, and they transition so quickly. I think progression is important, but when progression turns into erasure, [that doesn’t] feel good.”

– Valerie Bryant, instructional designer, Ellenwood

On hopes for the Dickens administration:

“Instead of them caring about a streetcar, let’s help clean up these streets. Let’s help get the homeless people [off the street]. It’s getting out of control. We got tents now on the side of the highway. This homeless crisis, it’s out of hand.”

– Alicia Rodgers, recording arts student, Bankhead

We want to keep these conversations going. Do you have other ideas for topics that should be on our radar? We want to hear from you! Hit us up at