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The Importance of Independent Journalism

There's a new post on NMP about the importance of independent journalism. It was inspired by a bit of good news from The Morning, a daily newsletter published online by The New York Times (their December 22, 2023 edition). You can read the post here: https://nm-publishing.com/2024/02/16/independent-journalism-on-the-rise/


How does this tie into Black History Month?

Underrepresentation is an issue in the news media in reporting, access, coverage, and more. In a Pew Research Center Article published on the 13th, Michael Lipka shares some eye-opening statistics. Link to the complete article: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2024/02/13/8-facts-about-black-americans-and-the-news/


An excerpt of Mr. Lipka's article addresses diversity in news reporting:

Black Americans tend to be underrepresented in U.S. newsrooms. Just 6% of reporting journalists are Black, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. journalists. That is well below the Black share of U.S. workers (11%) and adults overall (12%).
About half of all U.S. journalists (52%) say their news organization does not have enough diversity when it comes to race and ethnicity. That is much larger than the shares of journalists who say the same about gender, sexual orientation and other aspects of diversity.
There is more proportional representation by race and ethnicity in local TV newsrooms, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association. It found in 2022 that 13% of local TV newsroom employees are African American. However, only 6% of news directors – the leaders of such newsrooms – are Black.

Historic Independent Publishers and Press

Independent journalism is not a new concept. Many of the large news organizations are conglomerates built of independent news organizations of the past. Many things are cyclical and the way news is produced is certainly one of those things.


On March 16, 1827 in New York City, a group of free Black men founded Freedom’s Journal, the first newspaper owned by, led by and for Black Americans in the United States.
In that inaugural four-page broadsheet, Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm, the editors and proprietors noted, “The peculiarities of this Journal, render it important that we should advertise to the world the motives by which we are actuated, and the objects which we contemplate. We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentations, in things which concern us dearly…”
The clear intention laid out in this founding document spoke to the need for Black press and set the tone for the role Black media still play in our communities and Black society at large. Nearly 200 years later, Black media continue to create a space where Black folks can speak for ourselves about issues of importance and combat stereotypes that harm us.

...

Black media were important in 1827, and they are just as critical today. This report aims to provide evidence as to why Black media matters now. We must work to ensure that Black media will not just survive, but thrive for generations to come.

The excerpt above is from the introduction "Why Black Media Matters Now" by

Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Black Media Initiative Director, Center for Community Media, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York for the Black Media Report.


Opportunities to Be Heard

We are living in the wonderful and difficult time of immediate access to an immense audience through the internet. It is wonderful for the access to such a large audience, but it is difficult to be heard when yours is one voice amongst so many voices.


If you are looking for inspiration to develop your inner journalist, you can start by reading "Editor’s Note: How to cover Black communities ‘The TRiiBE Way’" By Tiffany Walden, one of the founding editors of The Triibe (link below).


Resources

  • The National Association of Black Journalists - https://nabjonline.org

  • Capital B - https://capitalbnews.org - a Black-led, nonprofit local and national news organization reporting for Black communities across the country.

  • The Triibe - https://thetriibe.com - The TRiiBE is a digital media platform that is reshaping the narrative of Black Chicago and giving ownership back to the people. Our original works in journalism and documentary, alongside creative writing and video, capture the multifaceted essence of the Black experience in pursuit of truth and liberation.

  • OffThePews.org - We are always interested to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting something for the OTP Newsletter, please email a summary to webmaster@offthepews.org.


Artwork accompanying article courtesy of pixabay.com, 2016.

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