HBCUs and the Black Press Stay Fronting on Each Other
Here’s an interesting article from the Greene County Democrat, quoting a few HBCU presidents and black newspaper publishers on the need for partnership between HBCUs and black media.
(Former South Carolina State President George) Cooper also urged publishers to create a virtual communications network with HBCU presidents. “We don’t have to have conversations face-to-face, but if there was a quarterly virtual platform where we could engage each other, it would allow you to really understand some of the issues that would impact us,” he said.
Let’s keep it real. Black colleges, save for a handful, don’t give equitable portions of their advertising budgets to black media, aren’t diligent about sending press releases to black outlets, and don’t position faculty as experts commentators for news pertinent to the black experience. Black colleges have no clue about how to support black media outlets.
Part of that culture is because no one is reading traditional black media. Most black media outlets have no clue about social networking and new media, have no desire to reach younger audiences, and don’t see the cost benefit of reporting news without the “the white man is after us again” slant. Black media has lost the touch on reporting black culture and has completely missed the shift in business culture for media.
And the outlets that do attract millions of eyeballs per month? If it ain’t about campus queens, marching bands, black college football or crisis, they just aren’t that into you.
So why don’t we make some new agreements. You (HBCUs) will step up and commit at least a quarter of your advertising/marketing budget to black press. We (black press) will work with you; it’s not like we can’t use the money. We’ll hire students as interns and your alumni as staff writers. We’ll be the first to provide the detailed perspective on your successes and struggles, with balance and fairness.
And in turn, we as the black media will get better at online integration and social media strategy. We’ll bring the advocacy and the perspective to the people, not wait for them to come to us. We’ll build our audiences to ensure that a new generation of Black citizenry is aware and protective of black colleges.
It’s the right thing to do. Or we can keep fronting on each other and sink together.