When we began our Capital B journey, we knew we would build a news organization that would deliver impactful journalism to Black audiences, and that we would devise a novel business and organizational model to support that work. 

But we also wanted to stand up something meaningful for Black journalists. The idea for Capital B was forged in June 2020, when our peers were, not for the first time, publicly voicing our compounding frustrations with the industry: the lack of trust and support from white newsroom leaders, the fallacy of objectivity — as opposed to truthful and fair reporting  —  as the journalistic gold standard, and the personal toll of reporting on issues that impact Black people the most, while being one of few Black people on staff. We could not make big plans for Capital B without thinking deeply about shaping a newsroom where Black journalists could thrive.

We’re going to do things differently. We embrace empathetic leadership. We know intrinsically that our identity brings richness to our work; it does not compromise it. And we know that some of the outdated principles of traditional journalism have hampered growth for journalists of color, maintained the status quo in newsrooms, and led to inequitable news coverage. 

We also saw a need to establish norms that govern the way we work with one another, a way to put Capital B’s values into practice every day. We came up with these guiding principles, and we’re excited to share them with you:  

Take individual and collective responsibility for the delivery of excellent journalism to our audience and for maintaining a high-functioning workplace. 

We built Capital B because Black people deserve so much more from journalism. To deliver that, we bring our very best selves to our newsroom. We want everyone at Capital B to do the most meaningful and most impactful work of their careers, and we all take ownership of creating a workplace that enables that. 

Prioritize the mental and physical health of myself and my family.

There is no shame in resting or taking time off at Capital B. It is an expectation. We ask that our team members prioritize it by tapping our unlimited paid time off policy — not just when they’re physically sick, but also when they need to see to their mental health or take care of family. 

Capital B is a team, not a family. You already have one of those! They need your care and attention. Your loved ones need you to keep yourself well, and so do we. 

Be prepared, present, and accountable to my team and partners.

We respect our colleague’s time and effort by owning our work, doing what we’ll say we’ll do, and communicating well. 

Be inclusive of different experiences and identities of Black people in America.

In our journalism, in our hiring, and in the way we treat each other at work, we celebrate our different identities and backgrounds, and have zero tolerance for behavior that falls short of that. 

Share bold, creative ideas; remain open to different ways of doing things; and be fast and flexible in trying them.

At Capital B, your good ideas about anything — from process changes to ambitious editorial projects — will be encouraged. We also get that good ideas don’t always work out exactly as planned, and you’ll have understanding and support when it’s time to pivot. 

Seek answers to questions and solutions to problems.

At a startup, everyone can play a role in making things work more efficiently. Our team members are empowered to be problem solvers, asking questions internally and externally to identify the best path forward for any challenge we face. 

If Capital B’s mission and our operating principles resonate with you, we want you here! 

Open positions include a national editor, associate design editor, an executive coordinator, national reporters for climate and education, and a criminal justice reporter in Atlanta. Find our job listings here.

Akoto Ofori-Atta is the chief audience officer and co-founder of Capital B. Twitter @akoto_oa

Lauren Williams is the CEO and co-founder of Capital B. Twitter @laurenwilliams