January 4, 2009

Obama Presidency Will Bring Changes to Black Press...

via Politico
Barack Obama’s election as president is prompting major changes in the nation’s black press, ushering in a series of firsts that editors say will reshape print, Internet, radio and television coverage aimed at African-American audiences.

Essence, the top-selling magazine among black women, will have a full-time White House reporter for the first time. Ebony magazine will add a White House reporter, either full time or as needed. Its sister publication, Jet magazine, will have a weekly two-page Washington report in every issue.

And Black Entertainment Television is scrapping its usual fare of videos and sitcoms for a four-hour live broadcast of Obama’s swearing-in — just as the leading cable network in black households did for both party conventions last summer, and on Election Day. TV One will do the same, airing 21 hours of inauguration coverage throughout the day.

In some ways, the moves mark a return to a time when the black press — particularly magazines — were newsier. Jet first published photos of the battered and swollen body of Emmett Till in 1955, sparking outrage and galvanizing a still-young civil rights movement.

“Who we are is really evolving right now, in this post-civil rights era,” said Bryan Monroe, vice president and editorial director of Ebony and Jet. “Our readers really need the black press.”

April Ryan, who has been covering the White House for American Urban Radio Networks for 11 years, wonders what took so long.

“Katrina happened under Bush, and Rwanda happened under Clinton,” said Ryan, who was one of a handful of black reporters in the White House press corps during that time. “If more reporters of color were here, maybe those issues would have garnered more attention, and it could have made a difference.”

She said that the addition of black reporters could mean more focus on the urban agenda — failing schools, crime, job loss, poor health care.

“I am five generations removed from a slave. I was here the night [Obama won], and I had goose bumps,” Ryan said. “Yes, we pause for the history of a black president — but it’s not the reason to be here. There’s real work to be done.”

Read the rest of this article here.

1 comment:

  1. I would rather see them highlighting issues within our community...Honoring the President-elect is all fine and dandy...but what's next?