Guest: Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO, URL Media
“From a mission perspective, we did not want Black and Brown audiences to be only charitable endeavors. We see our people as a very important, vital, necessary market.” – Mitra Kalita, URL Media
You know you were meant to be a journalist when, as a pre-teen, you created a newspaper to protest your parents’ decision to move your family from Puerto Rico to New Jersey! That is exactly how Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media, got her start in journalism.
On this episode of News Take, News Media Alliance President & CEO David Chavern and Kalita have a heartfelt discussion about her journey from being a busy CNN Digital executive to starting her own newsletter, Epicenter-NYC, and media company, URL Media, in Jackson Heights, New York City amidst a pandemic and racial justice movement. During this light-hearted and honest talk, Kalita shares how she and her business partner were able to achieve instant scale, launching the URL Media network with seven million users, and how they’ve embraced a for-profit business model at a time when many similar groups were launching as nonprofits. In addition, she shares advice for improving diversity in content as well as in the newsroom, including ensuring changes to improve DE&I are lasting and become a part of the organization culture.
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Mitra Kalita is a veteran journalist, media executive, commentator and author of two books. She is the co-founder/ CEO of URL Media, a network of Black and Brown community news outlets that share content and revenue. URL Media works with mainstream newsrooms to syndicate content and partner on diversity initiatives in content, staffing and culture. She is co-founder and publisher of Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter designed to help New Yorkers get through the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the newsletters The Unmuted and The Escape Home.
Previously, Mitra was Senior Vice President at CNN Digital, overseeing the national news, breaking news, programming, opinion and features teams. She also worked in leadership roles at the Los Angeles Times and Quartz. She sits on a number of journalism industry boards, most notably, the board of the News Media Alliance.
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Watch the previous episode: Leveraging Products to Connect with Your Audience
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Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.