Local Media Foundation is now accepting applications from Black-owned and -operated local media outlets to participate in the Knight x LMA BloomLab.

LMF will select eight additional local media outlets to join 18 publishers currently participating in the Knight x LMA BloomLab, a three-year, $3.2 million immersive experience for Black-owned local media outlets, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The application period is currently open. The deadline for the final submission of all applications will be 8 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, May 12. 

The BloomLab includes three full-time, dedicated directors who work with the media outlets and other Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation staff members who serve as subject-matter experts in reader revenue, branded content, philanthropic funding and more. Selected media outlets will participate in the initiative through December 2024, focusing on technology upgrades, business transformation and shared learning opportunities. Participants will also qualify to receive technology stipends of $50,000.

“Overall revenue grew last year by more than 21% for Cohort 1 of the BloomLab,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer, LMA/LMF. “Our publishers were able to invest in their newsrooms, implement new technology and make gains towards their long-term sustainability efforts. Cohort 2 is off to a great start, and we are now ready to bring on our third cohort. We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for making this possible. The future of the Black press is vitally important to our country.”

Since the BloomLab began in Spring 2022, publishers have seen significant gains in digital revenue (133% increase for Cohort 1) and have had the opportunity to attend more than 50 training sessions on technology and digital revenue provided by the BloomLab team, other LMA staff and industry experts.  

“We are excited about the gains we are seeing from a digital revenue perspective,” said Robert Walker-Smith, the BloomLab’s digital revenue director. “We continue to relay to our publishers that we are not preaching abandoning print altogether, but to compete in this new digital landscape, we have to diversify revenue streams. Digital ad sales have to be a larger piece of the revenue pie as publishers move forward in the industry.” 

The BloomLab team continues to explore the industry for the most effective and innovative technology tools and platforms that will help support the publishers and their staff on their digital transformation journeys. 

“A crucial aspect of the BloomLab is enhancing the technology stacks of participants. This includes vital components such as efficient content management systems, workflow tools, and email system providers, which play a significant role in boosting revenue and audience while streamlining workflows,” said Apryl Pilolli, the BloomLab’s technology director. “Furthermore, the lab evaluates all technology solutions to ensure they meet the needs and capabilities of lab participants.”

The BloomLab is free to participating media outlets thanks to continued support from the Knight Foundation. Eligible participants must:

  • Be Black-owned and operated
  • Serve a local audience
  • Serve a majority Black audience

Information Sessions

Please join us for an information session to learn more about the BloomLab and application process.

May 1 at 3 pm ET: Register here.

May 3 at 1 pm ET: Register here.

Important information

Selected applicants will be announced in June 2023.