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On October 28, the Black News Channel held a virtual media day for selected standout HBCU journalism students across America regarding their BNC + BNC GO Journalism Project. This project enabled the students to submit direct questions to BNC on-air talent and allowed students to learn more about BNC’s network. There were four main topics discussed surrounding the future of Black journalism, the increase of Black and Brown women in U.S. media leadership, news consumption across media platforms, and journalism’s influence on race relations.
BNC’s virtual media day included a panel of on-air talent who presented their journalistic expertise to advise and inform the next generation of Black journalists. Among the panelists were the BNC GO’s The Morning Hype host Michelle Fisher, After 6ix host Jimmy Marlow, the cohost of BNC’s The World Tonight, Nayyera Haq, and host of BNC’s Prime, Charles M. Blow.
The Future of Black journalism in America.
Opening questions among the panel were forward-looking, aiming at the future of Black Journalism in America. Blow and Haq spoke more directly on this subject pertaining to how representation matters for generations to see that it is attainable for them and those after.
According to Blow, Black journalism, or Black media, “plugs a hole more than it changes [media] landscapes.”
Haq pointed out that as audiences and outlets see an increase in Black journalism, non-Black media professionals should learn to have “cultural competency” to help build more credibility and authority with the realms of this medium.
“Black/new media just has to survive long enough to build the reputation as a solid, competent, reliable place to go…then people [will] slowly learn to trust you and are [then] trained to see you as the face of the news that they want,” Blow responded.
Both panelists advised students that the future of Black journalism solely requires emerging journalists to be skeptical or curious and willing to keep journalistic integrity and feed their hunger for learning at each moment before, during, and after becoming a journalist.
Cable vs. Streaming vs. Social Media: Where is Media Best Consumed?
As the discussion shifted, each panelist engaged with where and how media and news are consumed best and over what media platforms.
Social media recurringly became a topic of discussion amongst the panelists. Blow referred to social media as a tool for journalists when creating stories or content. Social media allows for news to be readily available to audiences and creates opportunities for growth in media.
Haq, who is heavily involved in cable and streaming at BNC, spoke about the change in media consumption: “Twitter has actually opened my eyes to perspectives and experiences I would otherwise would not know about, so I use it very consciously as a tool. … ” Haq expressed, “I’m able to stay engaged in a way that I wasn’t able to even ten years ago because of the power of social media to bring forth narratives.”
The Rising Tide of Black and Brown Women in U.S. Media Leadership Positions.
The women of the panel, Haq and Fisher, spent a few moments highlighting the steady increase of feminine power seen in media leadership.
They point out that women in the media and journalism field must go the extra mile to be respected and taken seriously by their male counterparts. Fisher considered that working with BNC gave her more freedom as a Black woman in media versus working elsewhere.
“One of the highlights of working at BNC is that the freedom I have to be myself on air a little bit more than maybe I would some other places that I’ve worked,” Fisher said, “And I love that I have the opportunity to say things or just be myself as a Black woman on-air and not feel like I’ll be looked at [just] from management but also the viewers.”
Everyone on the panel agreed that for the rate of Black and Brown women in media leadership to speed up its gradual incline, more significant support from non-Black followers is needed, and awareness must grow.
Journalism’s Influence on Race Relations in America.
There is a power dynamic in America, and Blow emphasized that because of the power dynamic, journalists must ask themselves, “will we restrain those in power and grant power to those who lost [it]?”
Blow continued that as journalists, race relations are subjective. As media advances, “people have gotten so used to the ascendence of opinion in journalism that they forget that the very bulk of journalism is not opinion journalism at all,” Blow said.
The virtual media panel closed with Jimmy Marlow, who expressed that “effectiveness is not something that you have to worry about,” with media and race relations. Putting out your best work, maintaining journalist integrity, and being willing to get involved in the critical components in being a successful, hard-working journalist.