Welcome to the North Star!

We literally would not be here without you. You built this. I mean that. Your hard-earned money allowed us to purchase and renovate a television studio. It built this website. It’s what we are using to build our iPhone & Android apps. It pays our entire staff. Your contributions have created dozens of new jobs in our economy. And I want you to be proud of that.

Last summer, I met with dozens of potential investors and venture capitalists as we considered taking outside funds to build The North Star. Many were interested, but it was clear to me that they also wanted a real say in our content – and we were not willing to trade that type of control for money. When I told one investor that we aimed to have 25,000 founding members before we launched, they told me that they’d be surprised if we’d get that many people on board by the end of our first year. Well, here we are – all 25,000 of us, working together and rebuilding The North Star together. Because of you, we are completely debt-free. We don’t have a single loan or credit card.

Every design and consulting firm we interviewed told us that we needed until this summer to be able to build our website, our apps, and our television studio. Our television studio was completed this morning – right on budget. Our website was finished this morning – right on budget. Our iPhone app is finished and waiting to be approved by Apple. And our Android app will be ready early next month. We’ve hired ethical firms for all our work and have employed and empowered professionals of color every step of the way. We are still interviewing and hiring for many key positions and have added several new staffers this week alone.

For the next month or so, please think of The North Star as being in a beta phase. We could have waited another month to launch in order to work out all of our bugs, but we decided that we’d rather launch now and and have you on the journey with us. We’ve created a private email address for you to report all of the bugs and quirks and improvements that you see are needed. Please email those to us at feedback@thenorthstar.com.

If you are having technical difficulties with the website, with your account, or with the apps when they launch – please email those to support@thenorthstar.com. We have a gifted team standing by to take your reports, process them, and begin fixing whatever challenges you may have. Please be patient, but know that we will take each report seriously.

Next month, we are going to do a much more public launch--a grand opening of sorts--and our hope is that you can help us become stronger and more stable, with most of the kinks worked out, by the time we get there.

We are so proud to announce the premiere of our daily news broadcast - North Star Today. I can’t wait for you to see our beautiful new studio and be introduced to our outstanding hosts – JaQuitta Williams and our Co-Founder Benjamin Dixon. As you will see, we have released six members-only preview episodes of our podcast. We are preparing and recording the full version over the next few weeks – with special guest interviews and more.

Our Editor in Chief, Dr. Keisha N. Blain, has done a brilliant job assembling a talented cast of writers, scholars, reporters, and editors for our website and apps. We have an aggressive content production schedule and will be releasing new articles and reports daily. Our hope is that The North Star will not just be your home for breaking news, but also your home for rich commentaries and reflections from some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers.

At The North Star, we are going to focus on the kinds of stories that are not being told anywhere else. On most days, you will not even hear the name of our President. And when you do, it will be because we are giving an honest, expert-level perspective that you simply will not find in other outlets. The North Star is going to highlight our stories--with the color, context, nuance, perspective, compassion, frustration, and urgency that they deserve.

I don’t think I met a single person who believed we could purchase a television studio, renovate it from the ground up, recruit and hire a full production team, find our hosts, and launch a daily news broadcast by this date, but here we are. At least a dozen people have worked around the clock for weeks on end to get us – and I am so incredibly proud of them.

Thank you for being here with us from day one. I will always remember and be grateful for your contribution. My dream is that decades from now we will look back at this moment and marvel over what we built together.

One important point: We’ve turned the comments section ON. We want to begin some rich conversations here that simply are not possible on YouTube or open blogs. We are monitoring comments and will strive to create a space that is free from hateful remarks and commentary. Please note that we will immediately remove and ban anyone hateful. Again – thank you so much for your support! This is just Day 1 of Phase 1 and we have so much more in store! Let’s keep on pushing!

About the Author

Shaun King is the co-founder and CEO of The North Star. Hailed by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in the world on the Internet, King brings striking clarity to the insidious and complicated picture of racism today. As a journalist, King has authored 1,500 articles on injustice since the start of the Black Lives Matter Movement. He is co-founder of the Real Justice PAC, and the voice of social justice on the legendary Tom Joyner Morning Show.