State of the Black Press & Media

Posted on May 2, 2013 by


State of the Black Press & Media 

By:  Amenseph JP Wks – May 2,2013

            Once considered an outdated protest medium, the Black Press and Media today is appreciated as crucial to ethnic progress, and a host of individuals and advocacy groups are coalescing to support it.

The State of the Black Press luncheon and roundtable event in collaboration with Black Press Week 2013 recently took place. This event was hosted by the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA).

George Curry, Journalist, Keynote Speaker and Media Coach introduced and participated with panelists which included: Dr. Ben Chavis, Co-founder/President & CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network; Kevin Lewis, Director of African American Media for the White House Communications Office; Charles Ogletree, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Jineea Butler, Founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union.

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Black Media a Primary Source

Is Black media a primary source, or can it be the main part of one’s own daily news and information?

All in attendance at the luncheon agreed that the Black press will and could only stay relevant if the community demands it; this is a well understand point by many. However, most individuals and communities readily rely on mainstream media to provide the focus of attention and determination of what is to be said about, ‘what’s going on’ in Black communities. With this display of reliance as a primary and sometimes only accessed source for local, national and global updates of current events, it invokes a greater responsibility on the Black Press and Media, to broaden their relations with the communities in which they are communicating to, and with. With this being said, it still remains true that many (Blacks) hardly ever include black-owned publications, or embrace Black media outlets as a source of news and information. It is unfortunately more often seen as being a non relevant or incredible source. Often times just as an outlet for gossip, sports and entertainment…

media literacy

Black Press and Media as an effective voice of the culture of the people

Needles to say, the question of support and relevance doesn’t just fall on that of the followers of the Black press and Media outlets. Is, the Black press and media appropriately reaching and addressing what people want to know and need to know? Is Black media focusing on stories about how Blacks are effectively/positively making their way in America and globally; are they providing World African viewpoints and realities; Black/African health and wellness; do they expose and define Black empowerment in education and economics; STEM and medical contributions…?

Amidst these and many more questions presented, the realities and presence of niche publications and media voices are increasing sensitivities and cultural awareness within various communities. While the diverse Black media and market publications are separate from the mainstream, the trend is towards more complete coverage of ethnic news.  The presence of good quality niche outlets should continue to help improve perceptions and help Africanize the communities. While that may be a bold statement and not speaking for all (African-Americans), some do see and understand the relation of perceptions shared, which often refers to, and reinforces the (negative) Americanizing of Blacks and their communities, nation.

On demand Media

In today’s Digital Age, almost every public relations professional wants to see their client or organization’s story placed with journalists at prestigious and influential media outlets, as well as in prominent online news and Black media. Honestly speaking, the ultimate of this cannot be achieved without access and control over the mass media resources that impact our lives and the world.

The support and demand of Black communities will not just make the continual existence and voice of the Black Press & Media relevant, but will give it its status of prestige and prominence that relates to economic and political empowerment within the Black communities. This is a level of opportunity for both the followers and providers of Black media and will increase a broader spectrum of influence that places higher concerns to the value and credibility of the intents and content of the media itself.

Do you find Black media to be a relevant and vital part to you and your community? Is it up to mainstream media only, to define the lifestyles and culture of your community, as well as its awareness?

Support the Black Press and Media that does.