Last year, after VSB expanded in both content and readership, we were approached by several larger organizations. Some wanting to forge some sort of partnership; some wanting to purchase VSB completely. Yet, as 2014 ended and we began 2015, one of these parties of interest separated themselves from the rest. They were the most interested, they had the most ambitious creative/editorial plan, and, to be frank, they were the most willing to put a substantial amount of resources behind their decision.
Today, I'm beyond proud to announce that, starting in June, VSB will officially partner with FOX News, a multi-platform venture that will both allow us to expand our reach and infuse Fox with a much needed shot of diversity.
Along with the changes on VSB (which I'll explain in more detail later), included in this partnership will be "The Minority Report" — a weekly panel discussion about Blackness (Black pop culture, Black politics, Black media, etc) that will be hosted by TJ Holmes. I will serve as the show's executive producer, and the show will launch next fall. Also, Panama will lead a daily morning radio show. The title has yet to be determined, but this will also debut in the fall.
With the change, Fox now owns 51% of VSB. Fortunately, they do not want to change much of the content, a fact they repeatedly stressed while negotiating and included in our contract. Their resources will allow us to bring on more consistent daily writers and hire both a full-time managing editor and an associate editor — positions that will allow Panama and I to step back from much of the day-to-day operations of the site, instead focusing on bigger picture plans and opportunities. The only change that will immediately affect daily content in a way that will be new for VSB is the fact that we're also going to bring on two Black conservative writers.
Raffi Williams, who you might remember from his public spat with EBONY.com senior editor Jamilah Lemieux last year, will join VSB to write about race and politics. Malika Love, sister of Utah representative Mia Love, will write about culture and church.
We're aware the partnership with Fox will turn many people off. In the eyes of many Black people — especially fans of VSB — this will be looked at as us effectively selling out and making a deal with the devil. Especially when the terms of the deal are released to the media. These are valid concerns. Very valid. This entire process has been filled with come to Jesus moments for both of us. But, VSB has always been about elevating the national conversation about race and Black culture. And, what better way to reach people who likely have never had any type of nuanced discussion about Blackness than through Fox?
The next few months are going to be crazy. This has been such a whirlwind that I haven't even fully wrapped my mind around it. But we're confident the changes will be for the better, and all we ask of you all is to be patient and be open-minded. Basically, keep being part of what's made VSB great, and keep trusting in us to make it greater.
Oh, and keep celebrating April Fools' Day.