Reflecting on Nia, the fifth day of Kwanzaa, one can’t escape the commitment to purpose-driven journalism. As a Black journalist working for a Black media outlet, it is not lost on me how much of the media landscape works in service of interests outside of our communities.
The stakes are always high for Black people. Kirsten West Savali, iOne Digital’s vice president of content, previously wrote that our work must be rooted “in the tradition of the Black journalists that have come before—such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who taught us through her work at the Memphis Free Speech and beyond, to be both righteous and rigorous.”
Black media plays an important role in our communities
Black outlets have an important duty and commitment to Black audiences. Recent reporting from the Chicago-based The TRiiBE, put a necessary spotlight on blogs targeting Black audiences that spread misinformation. According to the report, several of these outlets also amplified false narratives about criminal justice reforms echoing Republican talking points claiming a purge-like future was coming to Illinois.
Earlier this year, the Kansas City Defender challenged local media and police over reports of missing Black women. The Kansas City Defender was the only outlet to showcase and uplift community concerns.
West Virginia changemaker Crystal Good, narrative disruptor and founder of Black By God, stresses the importance of investing in Black outlets to provide vital coverage and amplification for the communities they support. The more Black newsmakers and change agents we have, the better off all our communities will be.
Regardless of whether Twitter and social media platforms get the stories right, Black-led journalism has a commitment to our communities. And at a time when disinformation and misinformation are running rampant, it is important that we have strong sources committed to sharing good verifiable information. The outrage clicks model creates more harm to our communities.
We need people prioritizing our stories that center our struggles and our triumphs, not just chasing clicks and traffic with divisive content disregarding actual facts. This also means, where possible, making op-ed pages available to those leaders and practitioners with direct lived experience about the issues that matter most.
It’s on us to support Black media. Here are several outlets and media initiatives that could use our support.