Five Reasons Why We Don’t Want to Hear Positive HBCU News
Most HBCU students, alums, executives and supporters say they want to hear more about the good things HBCUs are doing, but the truth is, we don’t. News consumers don’t want to hear good news, because its fits into a weird place in our media consumption scale. A scale that looks something like this:
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So you can see how hard it is to get a story into a newscast or newspaper about research development or social transformation among students at HBCUs. These stories aren’t as sexy as blood and controversy. If they were, we would read them in greater numbers, flood comments with our support, send them through emails, and outlets would respond with more stories on HBCU value and greatness.
Here’s five reasons why good news about HBCUs isn’t our cup of tea.
5. HBCUs don’t share news often enough – Very few HBCUs produce consistent news about faculty, students, research and community involvement. And even fewer get these stories out to the reporters and alumni best equipped to make the news go viral.
4. News structure isn’t built for good news – Most news is given to us in hard-hitting, 60-second snippets in broadcast, and in print stories that rarely take us beyond the first three paragraphs. This is not good culture to get to the heart of how HBCUs save the lives and better the circumstances of thousands of black people everyday.
3. HBCUs worry about big outlets instead of the small – How is it that black colleges are more concerned with national and regional media before feeding the community papers and blogs that reach a loyal, niche audience? It’s almost like recruiting students exclusively out-of-state. Why ignore the strongest support base?
2. Predominantly white outlets are concerned with predominantly white schools – Why should big broadcast and print outlets with reporters, editors and salespersons who likely graduated from large predominantly white institutions have regular concern about HBCUs? Which leads to the number one reason…
1. Black stereotypes + higher education = Millions of reads – Email subscriptions and web hits sell ads, and nothing moves the news like black criminal stereotypes that make people afraid and reactive. Mix crime or controversy with institutions educating black people, and its the kind of news that leaves black folks conditioned to pay little attention to good news and full attention to the bad stuff.