This report provides data and evidence of what many of us have already known. Black media provides critical coverage, leads the conversation on issues of race, centers the community in coverage and connects the current news cycle to the historical fight for justice. In a time when we needed this analysis desperately, the Black media sector provided it with fewer resources and less visibility than their mainstream counterparts.
This is why the Black Media Initiative, and other support organizations, exists. We know the impact that Black press has despite not getting the investment it deserves. But what would the future of Black communities and American society at large hold if Black media organizations had the resources they deserve to be able to shed light on more of these issues? The Black Media Initiative is working with Black publishers to realize that future.
There are some questions about the modern-day Black press that this research doesn’t answer. They are:
- Are there differences in how Black-owned media and Black-targeted media cover these topics? Are there differences in how legacy and digital Black media are covering these issues?
- What are the needs, habits and topics of interest of Black media consumers?
- What is the impact of financial investment in Black media organizations?
We hope that both we, and our colleagues, will be able to dig deeper into these questions in future research.
It has been said that journalism plays a critical role in helping to preserve our democracy. History, as well as the contemporaneous account of this report shows that Black press has been critical in helping to advance our democracy. From the work of Ida B. Wells that roused international sympathy and action on lynchings in the south, to Black media’s coverage of the murder of Emmett Till which galvanized the Civil Rights Movement, to the present day work accounted for in this research, Black media has been on the front lines showing us the work that we still need to do to form a more perfect union.
Black media deserves our support. Our hope is that this report will motivate greater support for Black media, both now and always.