What I do at Capital B
Hello! I’m Akoto Ofori-Atta, co-founder and chief audience officer at Capital B. My primary responsibility is to steer audience and community engagement strategies that get meaningful and accessible journalism to Black audiences. Co-founders do a lot of things though, so I also work with Lauren Williams, my good friend and CEO of Capital B, and others to strategize on and develop all aspects of our business, from operations to editorial strategy to newsroom culture.
Why I came to Capital B
I decided to leave my job for what would eventually become Capital B in June 2020. For many of us, that date is shorthand to describe a nightmarish time: Covid-19, the protests for justice gripping the country, and a contentious election cycle in which Black people were, yet again, fighting for their right to vote.
There was also the alleged reckoning happening in our own industry. Black journalists were tweeting about the ways they had been mistreated, passed over, and not trusted to tell stories they were most qualified to tell. Newsrooms across the country were trying to figure out how to deal with this moment, and to reconcile their own failures to accurately cover race and racism. All of the responses — the stylebook changes, the atoning, the vows to do better — were important first steps, but nothing felt good enough.
As a newsroom leader, I felt a deep urge to use my energy and my experience to make journalism better for Black people, and more equitable overall.
Around that time, Lauren and I texted each other. Turns out we were feeling the same way. Eighteen months later, here we are!
What makes me happy?
Forgive my earnestness, but Capital B makes me happy! I am so grateful to work with some of the brightest Black minds in journalism, building the future we want to see for journalism and for the public. I’m working in my dream newsroom and it makes me smile every day.
What song I’m listening to on repeat right now
Like anyone listening to new R&B right now, I am very tapped into Muni Long. I play Sneaky Link so much that my husband asked if he should be concerned. (He should not be! It’s just a very good song!)
My favorite Black storytellers/creators
I feel lucky to be alive at a time when there are too many brilliant Black storytellers and creators, past and present, to name. But I’m writing this after a 45-minute Instagram and TikTok binge, so I have to give it up for our viral video comics.
My absolute favorite right now is Ryan Ken. They are so sharp and funny and damning in their critiques of all the absurd things happening around us. Their “A postgame interview with a Black voter” skit is award-worthy commentary on voting access.