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The Dallas Morning News recognized by NABJ for partnership with Black-owned Texas Metro News

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

The News’ North Texas Editor, Jamie Hancock, leads the newsroom side of the partnership with Texas Metro News publisher and editor Cheryl Smith.
The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News has partnered with Texas Metro News for more than a year. It has been recognized with the 2021 Best Practices Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

By Maria Halkias

The Dallas Morning News has received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices Award for the newspaper’s partnership with the staff of Texas Metro News.

Texas Metro News publisher and editor Cheryl Smith has helped The News expand its coverage into communities, particularly in southern Dallas, said Jamie Hancock, The News’ North Texas editor, who led the newsroom partnership and spearheads the newsroom side of the relationship.

As that effort to expand coverage of more communities in North Texas was getting underway, “so many people in the community told us you really have to meet Cheryl Smith,” Hancock said.

The News has benefited in many ways, including access and sourcing information, she said. “We want to do more and strengthen the partnership to better reflect the communities we serve.”

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Jamie-Hancock
Jamie Hancock, North Texas editor of The Dallas Morning News. (Evans Caglage / 00024844A)

The partnership was formed in early 2020 and allows Texas Metro News to publish The News’ stories for free, while helping The News elevate its coverage of communities of color. The plan originally included community events, but the pandemic stalled those efforts, Hancock said. There were some virtual events and co-marketing, particularly for voter education efforts.

The News has helped Smith with distribution of her weekly newspaper and with launching a digital newsletter that allowed her staff to reach readers more directly once the pandemic started.

“The commitment is there. It’s authentic,” Smith said about her working relationships with Hancock, publisher and president Grant Moise, managing editor Keith Campbell, deputy publisher Leona Allen, former executive editor Mike Wilson and new executive editor Katrice Hardy.

The partnership has gained broad interest from other journalism outlets, and a guide was created by the News Media Alliance.

NABJ’s Best Practices Award is given to “a news organization for exemplary work in covering issues of great significance to the Black community or the African Diaspora and/or for its efforts in increasing diversity among its newsroom staff and management,” according to the organization’s website.

The vote by the NABJ board was unanimous, Smith said.

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Founded in 1975, NABJ is an influential organization that advocates on behalf of Black journalists and media professionals in the U.S. and worldwide with 4,000 members. It’s headquartered on the campus of the University of Maryland.

The award will be presented at the group’s annual convention in December.

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