This year’s Billionaires list, which over the course of the pandemic year added a net 493 new members and more than $5 trillion in wealth, will surely make worldwide headlines for all the obvious reasons. But as I note in our cover essay, we’re in a moment of profound change, with so many good things portending a future of broad prosperity.
Part of that change revolves around companies recognizing their role as a positive influence, including a commitment to look more like the world around them. That’s particularly true for places like Forbes, which help shape ideas and terms of debate for millions.
In that spirit, we’re trying to do something that not only makes our newsroom better but helps repair the pipeline for business journalism overall. Please meet the first class of Forbes Fellows, in partnership with Morehouse College and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These talented HBCU students and recent graduates will report and write stories, take classes with Forbes staffers and receive direct mentoring. This idea stemmed from a breakfast I had just before the pandemic with Robert F. Smith, the richest Black American and a big HBCU supporter. It came to life during the pandemic, courtesy of Assistant Managing Editor Ali Jackson-Jolley. And it will pay dividends long after the pandemic. By tapping star HBCU journalists who didn’t have a clear path to places like Forbes, we’re expanding the pool for ourselves and our industry, referring other Fellow finalists to our competitors.
With vaccines creating a true reopening of the country, and with the economy poised to roar, now is the time for all of us to think big, both in terms of what we can do immediately and how we can build for the long term. After a year of challenges for all, and breakthroughs for some, I’ve rarely felt so optimistic.