Does filling your web property with Associated Press news articles about black issues make you a black news source? Well it does if you’re Radio One’s NewsOne. As Black writers continue to struggle for credence in mainstream media, it seems as if NewsOne thinks that Black folks shouldn’t write about their own issues either. Aside from the almost invisible “Featured Blogger” section, and the random (and I mean random) posts authored by the “NewsOne Staff” (whoever that is), NewsOne’s articles are mostly a collection of selected pages written by mostly non-black people about black issues. I don’t mean to pick on NewsOne, we all know that they’re far from the only offender, but I do think NewOne’s website makes for a great conversation about why some black media outlets are losing their luster and black blogs are now picking up steam.
As a relatively new website (still in beta) under the direction of one of black radio’s pioneers, Cathy Hughes, NewsOne I believe, has started to contradict the exact mission that black media outlets originally set out to do. The mission of course is to give the “Black Perspective”. Black media outlets of the past, including RadioOne, served as a platform for black writers and commentators to give the world a glimpse of the black perspective. Unfortunately, as some media outlets decide to try their hands online, it seems to me that the black perspective was traded in for convince.
The good news is, as more mainstream sites lose the “Black Perspective” the more black blogs start to pick up the slack. With little to no budget and in most cases no backing from network television or radio, black blogs have quickly began to gain traction. Black Bloggers are now being sought after for their expertise and perspectives and even more importantly black blogs have birthed voices and started important conversations that most black media outlets by nature could not. This is especially evident in the success of Black Political Blogs. A hot political season combined with a black presidential candidate created the perfect climate for growth of the “Black Perspective” in the political niche, but black media outlets for the most part have completely missed the bus. Black Media outlet’s failures have created an avenue for great political blogs in the black niche, including one of my favorites Jack and Jill Politics (JJP). Launched in 2006, “JJP address[es] the need for stronger, everyday African-American voices who could hold media, popular culture and politicians accountable for their treatment and portrayal of African-American interests.” says Jill Tubman. Jill goes on to say,
“Since then, we’ve [JJP] become one of the most popular black-themed blogs online because they [black media outlets] have failed to innovate and keep up with African-Americans’ media consumption habits. A look at our blog shows the growing community of African-Americans and those of all hues and backgrounds who are interested in what black folks are thinking and doing. Journalists and bloggers are major consumers of online content and so they look to our blog as a vital source of information as older, more established black media outlets still seem to be catching up online.”
Leutisha (aka CPL) another JJP contributor sums it up best by saying, “When we don’t get the attention and coverage the Black community needs, we have to do it ourselves. As Jill mentioned, JJP was started to address the lack of political education, agitation, awareness and discussion that you can’t get on the Black Media outlets because they are too busy taking payola to broadcast stereotyped images in the mainstream and get paid.”
Strong words and real feelings echoing throughout the black community. Black media we expect better!Category: web 2.0 | Tags: black blogs, black perspective, black web, Cathy Hughes, jack and jill politics, jjp, newone, radio one