On radio station WNOV earlier this week, talk show host Sherwin Hughes asked a rhetorical question: What good are Black radio talk shows–like his and the former WMCS AM 1290 talk shows by Eric Von and Earl Ingram-to Milwaukee’s Black community? Or, for that matter, any Black community across the country? The same question can be asked about the Black press–the Black media in general?
Hughes answered his own question by saying Black radio talk shows–and Black news media–are important because they are the ONLY vehicles of positive, accurate and factual news and information pertaining to Black Americans (such as this newspaper you are now holding and reading).
As we all know and see every day and night on our televisions at 12 noon, six p.m. and 10 p.m. (the news hours in Milwaukee), the white media (also known as the “mainstream media”) reports the negative and controversial aspects of Black life in Milwaukee. The only time they print the positive is when it’s something extraordinary or “unheard of,” as if something “good in the hood” occurs about as often as a solar eclipse.
A case in point. An activist in Racine, Wisconsin sent a letter to the MCJ describing the recently held “State of Black Racine Community Town Hall Meeting” between that city’s Black civil rights leadership and clergy, and government and business leaders and power brokers (mostly white) about the challenges people of color face in Racine and the need to as he put it, “create a culture of change.”
The audience was also diverse, ethnically and demographically. Even state officials who represent the region were in attendance.
“The only thing ‘missing in action’ from the community town hall meeting in action was the Racine Journal Times Newspaper,” the activist noted.
He added: “The Journal Times failed again as they have so many times in the past to provide news coverage on significant events in the minority community choosing rather to write stories and publish news that creates a dismal and inferior image of the African American community.”
For Black Milwaukeeans, that description of the Racine daily paper mirrors this city’s daily as it relates to its attitude toward our community.
We’re quite sure the Black papers in Racine covered the town hall meeting and broke down and interpreted its nuances and what steps need to be taken to improve opportunities in that city for people of color.
That’s the job of Black media–be it radio, newspapers or Black news websites and blogs: Interpret the news from a Black perspective and how it will impact our people today and tomorrow, while providing ideas to solve the social ills that plague us.
And given today’s instant, insistent and constant 24/7 news cycle (including Facebook and Twitter, which have become the new vehicles to deliver news and information), we need Black media to champion our causes more now then at any time since man began to write and the Black press was founded in Philadelphia in 1827.
You can count on this newspaper and the other two Black papers–and the only remaining Black radio station with a talk show format, WNOV–in this community to “plead our own cause.” As we said in an editorial last year after the demise of 1290 WMCS and people in our community began to question the continued viability of Black Milwaukee media, we plan to be here–for you–for a very, very long, long time! We will continue to “feel the pulse” of our community and report to you the status of that pulse’s beat!
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