Take a break from the news with mindful Black stories.

🔊 New logo and $16k raised

Twice As Good has been on pause while I developed a mindful approach to journalism through a Black lens. We have a new logo, new content, and more than $16,000 in value was raised!

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“Hey, I signed up for your newsletter but I’m not getting it in my inbox, maybe it’s going to spam?”

I’ve been getting this a lot lately. Before you go check your inbox and spam folder, there are no missing newsletters. I haven’t been writing!

If you’re reading or listening to this now, let me first say THANK YOU for staying subscribed as I took a necessary pause.

I say this pause was necessary because, aside from being a human being with two jobs who needs food and money and the occasional nap, I needed time to work behind the scenes on the foundation of this (as much as I hate to admit it) business: social media strategies, revenue models, fundraising and networking. You know, the fun stuff everyone says they love about starting a business (not).

As I was telling the 5th cohort of the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program a few weeks ago (I’m an alumni of the 4th cohort), of course I would rather spend my time interviewing sources and writing. I’d rather be demonstrating-to you and the world-what mindful journalism through a Black lens can look like, and how it can help us all understand the world better. But I don’t regret my decision to pause.

In the slow journalism movement there’s a paradox: in order to ‘take off’ it has to become financially sustainable. In the media world that means publishing all the time. (How many articles, radio shows, and specials are published by any one news outlet in a day? Each one has several ad spaces which bring in money). But slow journalism is literally all about NOT publishing all the time. It’s about taking the time to process, reflect, then communicate happenings with real context, clarity, and impact.

Before releasing more content, as is the reflex of a journalist, I had to step back and process the most obvious happening right under my nose–this newsletter! What is it all about? Who is it for? Why?

That’s what I’ve been working on while I was absent from your inbox, and I couldn’t be happier to present it to you now.

What changed?

New logo and content

Where the old logo was energetic and playful, the new logo is calm and strong. Where the old content gave you a collection of links to articles with random keywords in the subject line, now it’s one single story you can ease into. Rather than an amalgamation of everything in this wild, overwhelming world of beauty and chaos, you have one single, soft cloud to rest on–a place where you can take a break and still learn something new and inspiring about what’s going on in the world.

The old newsletter was hyper local, critical, but in a friendly, casual tone. What’s wrong with that? Truly nothing aside from the fact that it was never what I wanted to do. I was listening to the voices of experts who told me what a journalism newsletter should do to be profitable, but just like the podcast I almost started, it wasn’t focusing on what I do best, nor was it focusing on the mindful journalism I truly think is needed in media. It was more of what you’re used to–an onslaught of disjointed factoids, without context or direction.

Raised more than $16k in funding

Twice As Good launched May 2nd 2022. In seven months we raised…

  • $6,000 from LION Publishers at the end of their Journalism Start Ups Bootcamp, funded by the Google News Initiative
  • a scholarship valued at $4,000 to a 100 day entrepreneurial journalism program funded by the Meta (formerly Facebook) Journalism Project via the CUNY Craig Newmark School of Journalism
  • $500 in a Black start ups pitch contest by Tribe Network
  • a $5,000 start up grant from the Centre for Women in Business to develop online presence and content

So, in addition to some freelance gigs and public speaking events, by the end of the year the total was $16,735 in value. It’s nowhere near sustainable, but it’s an excellent start. Every dollar goes back into the business: equipment, platform fees, freelancers and consultants.

All the above plus feedback from mentors, friends, and peers in entrepreneurial journalism is proof that people can see the potential for Twice As Good to make news media a healthier experience for everyone, through a Black lens–which I simply call “mindful Black journalism”.

Mindful Black Journalism

You know how the news is awful every time you look at it and it only seems to get worse?

Now consider Black news, specifically. Is it any better or easier to deal with? No. If anything it’s even more triggering, disturbing and exhausting. Too often the news is so dis-regulating that instead of informing us, it can paralyze and prevent us from taking informed action.

Twice As Good newsletter is where you go to take a break from the news without tuning out. In fact, you’ll engage more meaningfully. How? By reading and listening to stories that are told through the eyes of a real person, written by a journalist who uses a mindful approach to their work, based on some of the principles and ethics of Buddhism.

The mindful journalism framework I’m developing is for anyone who reads, writes, or listens to the news, so that news media can be a healthier experience for everyone. Every story is told through a Black lens because I am Black, and we are one of the most negatively affected groups by mainstream media. I also happen to believe that our experiences hold a universe of lessons and insights into the world we all live in.

To fight a toxic news culture that destroys its readers, journalists, and Black communities, all my stories are narratives guided by the ethical principles of mindfulness (and Buddhism).

  • if you keep up with the news but often feel tense, exhausted and frustrated afterward
  • if you work in media and you’re Black
  • if you feel the pressure to work twice as hard as everyone around you
  • if you support Black owned media
  • if you’re looking for fresh, thoughtful perspectives told through a Black lens
  • or if you just want to make news media more healthy for everyone

Welcome, and thanks for joining me in making mindful Black journalism a thing!


P.S.

I do this part-time with the help of freelancers. The rest of the time I’m hosting and producing The Lion’s Roar podcast and other content for Lion’s Roar Magazine.

Want to help? Follow Twice As Good on Instagram. Or, share the newsletter with your friends.


About

Sandra Hannebohm smiles at the camera in her headshot.

I'm a journalist and digital producer who rejects the daily news format, instead embracing narrative, human-centred stories.

I've done work for The Coast–where I covered the local housing crisis and the impacts of Airbnb–CBC, the Black Business Initiative magazine, Halifax Examiner, and Lion’s Roar, the largest Buddhist magazine in the English speaking world. I've also helped launch multiple journalistic startups based on community issues around race, media and politics.

Twice As Good is a Black multimedia newsletter that helps you better engage with the news by slowing down. She also hosts and produces The Lion's Roar Podcast from Lion's Roar magazine.

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