The UpTake’s Future: A Recommitment to Community Journalism

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Hello UpTake Community – 

I’m really pleased and grateful to be able to share a really important announcement with you today, one that – similar to our new Board Members who signed on last week – gets The UpTake closer to who we are and who we want to be as a community journalism organization. 

Over the last several months The UpTake’s Board Members and I have had long discussions about our work and last night, in what was really the most joyous conversation we could have had, The UpTake’s Board of Directors voted on its new mission statement. 

Our new mission statement is simple:  harnessing community journalism for social and racial justice. 

For a long time, The UpTake has depended on the language of “citizen journalism,” but that language has worn itself out and it’s meant that a big part of our base has felt disconnected from the work.

Our old mission statement and use of “citizen journalism” also broadened our scope too far. Over the last nearly two years we’ve refocused largely on Minneapolis and Saint Paul and the surrounding metropolitan area, wanting to center the narratives and voices of historically-marginalized communities in these cities. 

We wanted our organization to more closely look like our communities, hence the transformations that have occurred at our Board and staff-levels. And we wanted our audience and our communities to hear clearly from us that we stand for social and racial justice. We felt the need to be explicitly clear in naming those values in our work, because we wanted our audience and our communities to be able to hold us accountable to that work. 

There’s so much about The UpTake’s story and vision that I want to share with you all, because livestream is only one piece of our work now. 

  • We work with community journalists-in-training to tell their own communities’ stories.
  • We have a news radio show in partnership with WFNU. 
  • We host live events in partnership with other community organizations, including the East Side Freedom Library and Voices for Racial Justice. 
  • We published a print and digital magazine, The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing, in partnership with Voices for Racial Justice. 
  • We are co-hosting a podcast building on our work with The Quilt which launches next week. 
  • We have done a substantial amount of work in building out our community journalism trainings and these have once-again become a crucial piece of our work. 

Our work has broadened beyond transparency to transparency + contextualization. We needed a mission statement that allowed us that growth. 

I’m really so pleased to say that our new mission statement allows us all of these things and that it will be our new guiding light as we move into the future of our work. 

We’re so excited for this new mission statement and we hope you are too. Feel free to send your thoughts to me – just click reply on this email. 

Also, just a reminder that The UpTake has three community journalism trainings and a live event, “Envisioning Community Journalism,” on the horizon. 

Hosting these free events and investing our work so deeply and intentionally into community costs money, but it’s always worth it. We were lucky enough to be chosen to be part of Newsmatch so any donation you make from now until Dec. 31 will be matched by Newsmatch at the Institute for Nonprofit News. We’ve already been lucky enough to raise just over $2000 in individual donations, which will also be doubled. Thank you to everyone who so generously gave. 

Finally, we still have one more big announcement coming your way in the next week and, as always, we deeply appreciate your support. 

Thank you, 

Cirien Saadeh, Executive Director

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