The U.S. is undergoing a local news crisis. Long-standing newspapers are shuttering due to lack of advertising dollars, leaving behind news deserts where polarization thrives. But even at their healthiest, argues Mazin Sidahmed, news outlets often fail to truly meet the needs of people of color in their communities. The country is becoming increasingly diverse, but the lack of civic information for immigrant communities is worse than ever.
Sidahmed is a Sudanese-born, U.K.-raised journalist who started his career at The Daily Star in Lebanon. After moving to New York and working at Politico and The Guardian, he co-founded Documented, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to New York’s immigrants and the things that affect their lives. Sidahmed’s team listens to immigrants, providing them with the coverage they want on immigration policy, labor, and their local communities, delivered through unconventional channels, like WhatsApp, that are already a part of their daily lives. By serving New York’s Spanish-speaking, Chinese-speaking, and Caribbean populations, Documented is building trust in communities never served by legacy local media—and creating a model for other outlets to replicate.
Mazin Sidahmed is reimagining what local news can be, creating coverage with and for New York City’s immigrant populations.
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