The National Association of Black Journalists just awarded the five-year-old network its “Best Practices” Award for its coverage of the Democratic National Convention and election night.
“With minimal budget and without a news department, TV One rose to the challenge to provide in-depth reporting from a black perspective on these historic events,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “TV One is going the extra mile when it counts the most.”
TV One outshone its main competitor in the urban market, BET Networks, with its hours of coverage and savvy mix of veteran and brand-new broadcast talent. CNN’s Roland Martin, veteran journalists Arthur Fennell and Joe Madison, author Michael Eric Dyson and “Tom Joyner Morning Show” news correspondent Jacque Reid coupled with Interactive One’s Smokey Fontaine and James Hill to provide comprehensive coverage of both history-making events in the Obama presidential run.
It’s an especially sweet victory, considering the controversy that met the initial announcement that TV One would cover the Democratic convention, but not the Republican one.
“We are not a news organization,” TV One CEO Johathan Rodgers said when the announcement was made. “We are a television network that is designed to celebrate African-American achievement. That is why we are covering this convention. If Hillary (Clinton) was the nominee, we would not be covering this year’s Democratic convention. My audience is 98 percent black, and I serve my audience.”
The coverage of the convention paid off not just in accolades and respect; it paid off for the network in ratings as well. “DNC Live,” the network’s prime time coverage of the Democratic convention last August, averaged a 2.6 rating, becoming TV One’s highest-rated program up to that point among African-American viewers. When Obama delivered his acceptance speech, TV One was the number-two network that African-Americans watched that night to see him do it, behind only CNN.