Minority Papers Screwing Minorities
While channel surfing, I found a panel discussion about black media and black stereotypes that was recorded in July at the Harlem Book Fair. Juan Williams, a journalist and author, had this to say about black media:
Black newspapers will never get the respect they want if they act like a black newspaper.
The situation is such that negative stories about minorities in mainstream media outlets skew the perception of their communities in the eyes of everyone else. So, minority media outlets, which are created on the basis of empowering and serving their respective communities, are by default on damage control to balance out the effects of mainstream media. The effect is that they become the de facto cheerleaders of the community and the content is self congratulatory and shallow. This results in low quality, superficial journalism that is neither relevant nor is it useful to anyone except the publisher who is making money from it.
In reality, minority papers are doing their communities a disservice by subverting the main principles of journalism in favor of cohesion within the group. They are in fact lying to their own people. It is incredibly important for these papers to own all the stories, especially the negative ones. These papers need to be the only authoriative source on the community it serves and they cannot let mainstream papers have that job. The point of creating the minority paper was because our stories weren’t being told in the press to begin with.