What I do at Capital B 

I’m the editorial director and oversee Capital B’s newsrooms. I develop our journalistic vision and work with other editors to determine which issues we should cover. I ensure that our reporting meets high journalistic standards and reflects our editorial values.

Why I came to Capital B 

As a young journalist I often heard elders say, “I’m Black first and a journalist second.” The full weight of that dichotomy fell on me in 2020, as Black Americans’ fundamental humanity was (once again) reduced to a political issue. Journalistic “objectivity” in mainstream news has too often meant downplaying or outright burying the truth about race and racism in America. I deeply believe that the only “way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them,” as Ida B. Wells said. She and other Black media pioneers showed that being Black and a journalist isn’t a dichotomy, it’s a specialty – one that we’ll uphold at Capital B.

Where I’m from

I grew up in metro Detroit, where my early understanding of the world was shaped by ‘90s hip-hop and R&B. Detroit is one of the nation’s best news towns, but as a 17-year-old intern at  the Detroit Free Press, I largely covered neighborhood squabbles over things like traffic patterns and pitbull bans. Journalism has given me a much broader understanding of America since then. I’ve worked in more than a dozen newsrooms across the country, from Oakland, Calif., to New York City.

The song I’m listening to on repeat right now

“Good Day” by Nappy Roots. It’s a morning hype song for me and my daughter.

My favorite Black storytellers/creators 

Wells is one of U.S. history’s most undervalued heroes, and her legacy should inspire every journalist. More personally, Farai Chideya’s work fueled my early passion for journalism. My 25-year-old copy of Don’t Believe the Hype – Chideya’s takedown of journalism’s and other institutions’ misinformation about Black Americans – is still on my bookshelf.

Where you can find me

On Twitter @SimonesNews or at simone.sebastian@capitalbnews.org

Simone Sebastian is Capital B's editorial director. Twitter @SimonesNews