Black Lens News
December 2020 issue
TypeMonthly newspaper
PublisherSandra Williams
Headquarters1312 N. Monroe Street, #148
Spokane, WA 99201
Circulation700. Issues monthly (as of 2016)[1]

Black Lens News is a monthly African-American newspaper based in Spokane, Washington.



The newspaper was founded in 2015 by Sandra Williams who acted as the newspaper's publisher and editor.[2][3] Williams, who partly grew up in the Spokane area, remembered that the region used to have the newspaper African American Voice, which covered topics relevant to the Black community.[4] She got the idea for creating a new newspaper for the Black community while her father was dying and came out with the first issue in January 2015.[4] A U.S. Justice Department report noting the disproportionate use of force on African Americans in Spokane shaped her vision for the paper, and was the focus of its first lead story.[5]

The newspaper was originally twelve pages and has expanded to 20.[4] It contains Black news highlights from other sources both local and in the larger world as well as local sections such as its "It Takes a Village" section which highlights accomplishments of local people and a regular column "Thoughts from a Grandmother".[4] The newspaper primarily circulates through Black churches and businesses and contains a directory of Black-owned businesses.[6]

Williams ran the paper until she died in a floatplane crash near Whidbey Island on September 4, 2022. She was 60.[7] The paper went on hiatus until relaunching in February 2024 with a new website.[8] Williams’s family, several foundations, local businesses and some journalists fromThe Spokesman-Review created a non-profit to run the paper following the founder's death. And Gonzaga University has plans to provide office space.[9]


  1. ^ "Black Lens News celebrates 1 year anniversary". INBA Weekly. 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  2. ^ "About Us". Black Lens News. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Black Spokane residents are 5 times more likely to be arrested, new data show". 2020-06-14. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  4. ^ a b c d "Black Lens offers Spokane a different view of the news". 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  5. ^ Brown, Jared (February 10, 2020). "Black Lens monthly newspaper celebrates 5 years of sharpening Spokane's perception of racism in the community". Spokane, Washington: Spokesman Review. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ "The Black Lens covers the positive to counter negative news on blacks". The Fig Tree. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  7. ^ Brunt, Jonathan (September 5, 2022). "Spokane civil rights activist Sandy Williams was aboard plane that crashed in Puget Sound". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2024-01-31.
  8. ^ Paterson, Lauren (2024-01-30). "Spokane's Black newspaper relaunches". Northwest Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2024-01-31.
  9. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (2024-05-24). "A Black newspaper in Washington state gets a second life: 'We can't let the Black Lens die'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-05-25.