“I do not expect the white media to create positive black male images.” – Huey Newton
I have to say when this first came across my feed I thought it was a hoax. NBC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast, would not really be getting into culture specific media. I was wrong, then I was worried. Below is the editorial release from Amber Payne, Editor of NBCBLK:
NBCBLK covers stories by, for and about the black community. Our product is meant to elevate America’s conversation about black identity, politics, and culture. We share positive, solution-based journalism and report on challenging issues that communities of color face today. NBCBLK taps NBC News journalists around the world to tell these stories, and we curate reports from NBC News platforms — Nightly, Today Show, Dateline, and local affiliates among other NBC outlets.
We welcome your ideas, your feedback, and your perspective.
It goes without saying that it is already difficult to get many African Americans to consider African American news outlets first when they consume media be it newspapers, television, radio, or digital media. Many in African America often feel validated when other communities promote businesses targeted at us as some form of acceptance. It goes back to the old saying about our perception of white ice being colder than black ice. In media, it is even more complicated given its ability to shape the values and ideals of its consumer. When news breaks on anything relating to our community very rarely do we as African Americans turn first to our news sources. Even covering the Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and other police shootings almost none of my Facebook feed posted articles relating to the matter from an African American owned media outlet. According to BlackNews.com, “There are currently about 200 different black newspapers in about 150 different cities across the United States. Many cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, have more than one paper.” This is not including digital only sites like HBCU Money, HBCU Digest, and many other HBCU owned sites. Granted, we are lacking in television station ownership and have a fleeting ownership of radio stations, but when it comes to digital newspapers and magazines we have a strong presence, but it is under consumed by our communities.
This latest foray by NBC will potentially only make that even more difficult as we consistently turn to European American owned outlets to get our point of view. CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, just to name a few or the ones like NBCBLK who cater to African Americans with European American ownership such as The Root, BET, and even TVOne to some degree given its complex partnership with you guessed it, Comcast. Their views of us often shaped by internal politics and biases be they liberal or conservative.
And who is benefiting from this media asset? Well to know that you would have to know who Comcast major shareholders (below) are. The top ten institutions that own Comcast shares are a who’s who among major financial institutions, none of which are African American owned.
Therefore every click and view that the new site receives is only increasing the financial value of these media and financial institutions outside of our community’s ownership and control. However, African American owned media should not shy away from this challenge or competition. Competition is the business we are in and to reach our audience we must think ahead of the curve and create value that they can not get anywhere else, but it goes without saying they are instantly a game changer. That sound you hear? African American owned media company CEOs and presidents rushing to their war rooms.