NABJDigital Profiles Loop21.com

By Stacie Bailey, online graduate student, Quinnipiac University

An accessible and open forum that provides in-depth coverage and original angles on issues that affect the African American community. That is Loop21.com.  The name Loop21  is about being in the know and being included in the topics of the 21st century.

Initially launched a year and a half ago, the site underwent a re-launch in August 2011 displaying the new format that is visible online today. The site was created in an effort to produce more accurate and unbiased coverage of issues within the African-American community and mainstream media.

The young staff consists of CEO Darrell Williams, COO/Executive Producer Ken Gibbs, Jr. and Editorial Director Chloe Hillard, among others, along with 40 freelance writers. With articles ranging from politics to culture, together, the team publishes almost 100 pieces of content each day reaching readers from their website as well as social media venues such as Twitter (@theloop21) and Facebook .

The Black-owned and operated site creates revenue through advertising while partnering with news publications such as Essence and NewsOne. Loop21 encourages participation and exchange of information among its audience. During President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, Loop21 held a live Twitter conversation, teaming up with a group of 100-200 professionals to respond to the event as it was occurring. Readers were welcome to join the conversation and respond with feedback.  In another instance, a similar discussion was held via social media during the Troy Davis execution. Loop21 is less about business and more about making a difference in the community.

“It comes from a new generation of thinkers, thinking about things in a forward looking way. [We’re] not just looking in the past, but looking for new opportunities and ways to manage our challenges. That’s what we’re about and that’s what our audience is about,” Williams said.

If you would like to get involved with Loop21, you can send questions, comments, story ideas and opinion articles to editor@theloop21.com. Op-eds are posted weekly. Internships are available year-round; just send a note of why you’re interested, your resume and up to three samples of your work to the email above.  Check out Loop21’s “About Us” page to get to know more about some of the people who make the site a success.

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