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Happy Birthday Week, VNN!
By the numbers 🎈
Happy Birthday, VNN! What a year!
From August 1 to July 31, VNN received:
65,102 YouTube Views!
58,895 Newsletter Views!
44,504 Article Views!
With 22,829 Audience Members!
We hope you have enjoyed our social media trip down memory lane this week.
(On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thevnnapp)
If you missed it, here it is below!
YEAR ONE | August 2018 - July 2019
In July of 2018, Brittany Harlow quit her television news job and decided to go out on her own. Three days later she found out she was expecting a little boy. It may have slowed her down, but it didn’t stop her or her partner and Verified News Network co-founder Kelly Tidwell. The duo built VNN on the Muscogee Creek Nation Reservation to elevate the voices of underserved and marginalized communities. They launched Beta testing of the VNN app later that year.
YEAR TWO | August 2019 - July 2020
In 2019, VNN began to expand beyond founders Brittany Harlow and Kelly Tidwell. They joined forces with BetaBlox, a Kansas City-based business incubator and accelerator which helped them grow into a successful business through utilization of the Lean Startup Method. VNN also began to expand its affiliate partnerships and test new revenue streams to fund its news operations. The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic made growing a new business even more challenging, but VNN wouldn’t give up.
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YEAR THREE | August 2020 - July 2021
VNN joined the Oklahoma Media Center in its third year, and began adding journalists from states outside of Oklahoma. VNN Journalists teamed up with other news professionals to hold virtual town halls to discuss how the news industry can and needs to improve for the betterment of society. The social news media network launched “Community Voices”, a video series designed to emphasize the narrative of the community rather than government sources. And VNN received $5,000 to develop its current social news media platform, the VNN app. What a year!
YEAR FOUR | August 2021 - July 2022
In 2021, VNN became certified through Muscogee Creek Nation’s Contracting and Employment Support Office (CESO). Brittany Harlow spent a week taking part in the filming of the reality show “The Blox” alongside other entrepreneurs, representing VNN. She won third place! VNN doubled down on efforts to be a voice for marginalized communities like justice-impacted people as well as create more space for Indigenous perspectives in the news ecosystem. VNN Senior Journalists Rahkiya Brown and Rachael Schuit both became vested owners of VNN after a lot of sweat equity!
YEAR FIVE | August 2022 - July 2023
This past year has been one of massive growth and journalistic impact. From partnering with the Lucinda Hickory Research Insitute to launch the “Stealing Tvlse” series and winning our first award for April Wilkens coverage to teaming up with extraordinary collaborators like LION Publishers, Builders + Backers, the Mass Communication Database Investigations Program at the University of Central Oklahoma, and IndieGraf. VNN launched VNN News Hubs, of which VNN Oklahoma is the first, to showcase our work in local communities. And we teamed up with the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma, to help take Indigenous business and trade to the next level. Plus, we received our biggest grant to date from the Data-Driven Reporting Project.
Entering YEAR SIX! | August 2023 - July 2024
The steps VNN has taken these past five years are taking our innovative social news media network down the path of long-term sustainable news success. This week’s lookback has been the process. In the coming weeks, we are going to share the impact VNN has made in certain communities and what we are going to do next.
If you want to buy us a birthday present, there is still time! Buy us some cake (or much needed coffee) through our new Venmo account @VerifiedNews. Designate what and who it's for, or VNN Director Brittany Harlow will split it evenly amongst our team (of SEVEN!)
And buckle up, Verified News Community! Our sixth year is going to be our most epic one yet! Thank you for being a part of the journey.