When I went to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, I intended to study English because I wanted to become an author one day.
My intent changed immediately when I came to my first undergraduate orientation and listened to someone in the English Department convince everyone that they could fail. In my opinion, if you want someone to study within your department, be more positive. It’s okay to keep it real, but negativity can affect any retainment rate.
So, I joined the other undecided students, and we met three advisors in a room in the University Center. The advisor asked us about our aspirations and hobbies then told each of us what some possible majors to study.
In July 2016, I chose mass communication as my major and graduate with my bachelor’s degree in May 2020. My decision is still the best one I’ve made.
I’ve grown into wanting to learn more about media and journalism. In my journey, I’m still learning how to advocate for the black media and press so they can continue to tell stories about the black community.
I joined the National Association of Black Journalists in October 2019 on student membership. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they were hosting virtual webinars about different journalistic topics.
Last week, our NABJ President Dorothy Tucker joined a webinar with other panelists (my favorites were there April Ryan and Jemele Hill) to discuss black media and how to move forward with keeping black press alive.
Listening to their discussion reminded me of why I believe black media is sometimes pushed to the side and not acknowledged. The panelists made valid posts about how black journalists are treated unfairly in predominately white spaces, how small black press businesses who are slowly dying due to the digital takeover, and how black media will write news about black issues that predominately white media won’t see the stories as newsworthy, but years later, would write those same stories that were already discussed by black media.
We, as black journalists, need to bring these issues to ALL of the black media outlets. I feel it’s okay to discuss these issues among ourselves, but it takes more voices for a flame to continue. I believe we need to connect with the audience more within each media outlet. Utilize social media to post about the issues faced in black media and get more black organizations involved like the NAACP.
The panelists were real and honest about the push on print news; it’s dying and there’s nothing we can do about it. Print news will have to go digital completely.
People in my generation use digital news everyday, we hardly pick up the newspaper anymore. We have our phones on us 25/8 and we use them for almost everything, so my advice is to take that route of transitioning to digital ASAP.
In the past, the black press was dire to providing news stories about the black community that the white media refused to do. Yes, now there are more stories about the issues within the black community, but the mainstream media covers black issues that are trending and not the ones black media has been covering for years.
I want to see more black journalists in the media. We need to create more outlets and keep the ones we already have for the black community so their voices can be heard on all of the issues.
It’s not to gaslight anyone, it’s for use to be the new incoming watchdogs to help cover the truth about the years of oppression, and structured racists system that has affected black people.
We’re slowly rebuilding our communities physically, mentally and spiritually. Unfortunately, since most of the issues weren’t addressed due to the past assumption that the news stories aren’t newsworthy, we’re still here fixing long-term issues.
I’m glad I watched the webinar because it made me more hungry for journalism. I can’t wait to see my other colleagues get down on the hard news. We need everyone on board.
Happy Memorial Day!