Why Black media matters

Stock photo of a Black tutor recording a video tutorial.
Stock photo of a Black tutor recording a video tutorial.
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The importance of Black-owned and operated media outlets


It seems like the news is inescapable these days. Whether you care to or not, the odds are that somehow, somewhere, you are consuming information relating to current events.

I remember watching a news story on TV a few years back — it was about a Black man who had reached for his gun while being apprehended and was shot dead as a result. The video must have played at least 30 times, sometimes in slow motion, to emphasize the way he suddenly reached for his weapon. Unarmed Black folks are killed by police every day without so much as an honorable mention on this platform. Yet on the rare occasion that the police had a reason to shoot, they had a field day with the footage.

Now I knew this specific news station had a long record of villainizing victims of police brutality, presumably to justify the behavior of the police. I remember thinking to myself, “how many Americans are using this outlet as their main source of information regarding police brutality? Regarding the state and condition of Black people as a whole?”

This is only one example, of course, there are many other news outlets just like it. It’s no wonder so many people are oblivious as to the reality of the unrest in the Black community, or why some believe police brutality is only a coincidental surface wound instead of a scar, representative of a much deeper and uglier American malady. Media plays a vital part on both sides of the struggle towards equality — enlightening some as to the atrocities committed in the name of systemic racism, as well as leading others farther down the rabbit hole of White supremacy.

The lack of diversity in newsrooms means that the very demographic that is responsible for Black oppression is the same demographic reporting on Black stories.

Of course, that’s not to say every white journalist/editor/expert is out to demonize Black folks. It is to say that even when the person has nothing but good intentions, the lens in which White reporters view Black reality is inevitably going to be skewed by cultural, experiential, and many times, economic differences.

Only 7% of newsroom employees and 6% of all newsroom directors (the ones calling all the shots) are Black. This means that the vast majority of news published is coming from this Eurocentric viewpoint.

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