Blacks in the Media
Surveys show African-Americans continue to suffer from poor media coverage and images.
By Brian W. Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
“Image is everything” as the quote goes and unfortunately most people are judged by their appearance. Most times, people are summed up by their outward character, actions, etc. It can be particularly devastating when appearances are perpetuated in a negative manner. It seems like most times, African-Americans usually get the full brunt of negative attention when it comes to the media.
Recently, a group of media outlets and journalists, Loop21.com, UNITY: Journalists of Color (JC) and NewsOne.com conducted surveys of journalists and public opinion polls on “negative” coverage of African-Americans in the media. The results of the polls left much to be desired and need for a better image of the African-American community.
Loop21.com and UNITY: JC conducted a survey, “Journalism in Color: Race & the Media.” The survey gathered the opinion of Black journalists about the perception of African-Americans in media.
The results from that survey found that people underestimated the role media played in African-American perception. It was observed that employment, healthcare, international opportunities, education, politics and housing were the six fundamental avenues that were being blocked due to (mis)perceptions of Black people.
The poll among journalists also showed which news outlets showed fair and impartial reporting on cultural issues. CNN was seen to be the most trusted, providing fair reporting with 69% showing that they “somewhat trust” or “highly trust.” FOX news was among the least trusted media outlets showing 91% feeling FOX news wasn’t fair nor biased in their reporting on racial issues.
“Fear and uncertainty are hurdles in job interviews, promotions, and even how we are treated in a department store,” said Darrel Williams, Ph.D., Economist and publisher of Loop21.com. “When news media feeds negative stereotypes, it fortifies the barriers to access and to success for people who are associated with those negative stereotypes.”
Loop21.com and NewsOne.com featured another survey, “Truth in Media,” to African-American internet users. The poll showed that 80% believed that African-Americans are being represented in a bad light. Another 90% don’t think mainstream media is showing balanced and accurate coverage of African-Americans.
The polls conducted among internet users showed twice as many users felt racial issues had gotten worse in the past 12 months than the survey conducted among journalists. “Truth in Media” and “2010 Journalism in Color” were both commissioned by Loop21.com to gage the attitudes of journalists and audiences of color in regards to mainstream media.
So what is the answer? It is simple to see that African-American owned and published media outlets must do a better job of uplifting our people. We must address the negative but uplift and empower the positive.
We must also hold other non-Black media outlets responsible for their unfair representations. If Black journalists and the Black community do not make media aware of the problem, then their un-balanced reporting will continue. Ultimately, we must all work together to insure that everyone gets a fair handshake at the table.
The Loop21.com is an online media group that takes an in-depth look at economic and political news from a minority perspective. NewsOne.com is an online site that covers news and information in Black America. UNITY: Journalists of Color Inc. is an alliance advocating news coverage for people of color and challenging its organizations, at all levels, to reflect the nation’s diversity.
For more information on the “2010 Journalism in Color: Race & the Media” and “Truth in Media” surveys and their results, please visit www.theloop21.com, NewsOne.com or www.unityjournalists.org.
You may contact UNITY at (703) 854-3585 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.