After contemplating the Michelle Alexander TedTalk, The Black Journal, and the Matthew McDaniel excerpts, I began to think about the nature and necessity of black journalism and how it has continued today. In regards to its necessity, it seems that “regular,” white organized broadcasting and reporting usually center blackness only when it is connected to violence, and/or in response to black rage. Just as we saw during the screening of the reporting of the LA Riots, a distant camera circled the streets of South Central LA. When else had a news camera entered or observed that part of the city? In this particular temporal moment, we see news stories regarding black lives having mostly to do with police brutality and protests, and occasionally privileging those involved in sports. Cameras enter the streets of Baltimore only during the riots regarding Freddie Gray and ask the people why they are protesting (??????). It is important to bring eyes and attention to those conflicts and achievements, especially when they involve white supremacist motivations or they exhibit black excellence, but there is much more that seems to go unreported and unnoticed. I say “seems to” because their are plenty of black reporters and writers talking about the vast amount of things one can talk about in relation to black lives and black culture in this country. I think the black press of today has simply moved to other spheres, possibly partly because they aren’t given access to broadcasting networks or other forms of distribution in the same way white people/stories are. Though in class no one could name a current broadcast similar to The Black Journal (I don’t think one exists), I think modern forms of a black press definitely exist. There are online newspapers that center blackness, black voices, and significant events that involve black lives, such as The Root, HuffPost Black Voices, theGrio, etc. Beyond that, social media has allowed for all types of communities to take control of reporting on the issues that are important to them. That’s why the focus of this class is really significant; I would argue that Black Twitter is a form of the modern black press, because of the way it allows black people to report on black lives/events/news etc, usually with information or a lack of bias that is not present in mainstream news. Virtually anyone has some sort of access, whether this is to consuming or producing the media. Just as in the Youtube TedTalk, Michelle Alexander’s important words on how the mass incarceration system leads to a societal caste system are immortalized and will continue to inspire people through Youtube. These more modern forms of reporting and distribution empower people to privilege their own thoughts, opinions and intelligence. Though it would be great if black voices and faces could more greatly inhabit institutional spaces such mainstream news/media, because in my opinion this would automatically privilege all types of black stories, the ways that social media and media platforms have been able to augment voices that have always spoken is why this change (of sorts) in the nature and source of the black press is important.


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