It is time for a radical change in the way African Americans, particularly black men, are portrayed in the news media, three journalists told an audience of their peers.
“This is an entrepreneurial time and we’ve gotta find the storytellers and the people out in the community because I don’t think our newsrooms are going to be able to do it anymore. We’ve got to find a way to connect them,” said Kevin Merida, national editor at The Washington Post and co-author of “Supreme Discomfort,” a biography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Merida joined Mira Lowe, senior editor for features at CNN Digital and former editor-in-chief of Jet magazine, and Leonard Pitts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald at The Depiction of Black Males panel last week at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans, sponsored by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE).
The panel, moderated by Martin G. Reynolds, senior editor for community engagement for the Bay Area News Group, which includes the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, discussed the causes and consequences of inaccuracies in the coverage of black males.
Studies have repeatedly shown for years that coverage of black men and boys tends to focus on crime, largely depicting them as perpetrators, as well as victims.
The Opportunity Agenda and The Maynard Institute hosted a media briefing in May on the Opportunity Agenda’s report: Opportunity for Black Men and Boys: Public Opinion, Media Depictions, and Media Consumption.
“Among the many factors that influence the opportunities and achievements of black men and boys are public perceptions and attitudes toward them as a group, and their own self-perceptions as well,” the report said.
“Research and experience show that expectations and biases on the part of potential employers, teachers, health care providers, police officers, and other stakeholders influence the life outcomes of millions of black males, just as their own self-esteem, identity, and sense of empowerment affect their ability to achieve under difficult circumstances.”
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article courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com