BNC Journalists Drop Gems at Media Day


By Julian Bacon

Black journalists have always been at the forefront of telling stories that are pertinent to black people.

"The first black daily newspaper was in New Orleans. It helped pressure Louisiana into providing one of the most progressive state constitutions giving black people more rights than they had anywhere in the country," said Charles M. Blow, host of "Prime with Charles M. Blow" on the Black News Channel, during a recent media day that attracted student journalists from HBCUs. The event was held as part of the screening process for potential candidates for the "BNC + BNC Go Journalism Project" intern program.

Participants had the opportunity to get answers to their questions on a number of subjects including the future of black journalism in America and cable vs. streaming vs. social media. They also looked at the rising tide of black and brown women in leadership roles in U.S. Media and journalism's influence on race relations in America.

Blow told students about the Chicago Defender, a newspaper smuggled to the South that allowed southern blacks to be up to date on news elsewhere that involved or affected African Americans. Furthermore, he noted that Ebony and Jet Magazine were the publications that posted the pictures of Emmet Till. Jet and Ebony laid the foundation for companies like BNC to come to fruition.

"Journalism is about bearing witness, we are here to record what happened on this day," Blow said in response to a student's questions about how do black journalists spread accurate news through the lens of empowerment and not anger.

"We are not activists. We are journalists and we have to keep that line from being blurred," Blow added.

Stories like George Floyd's murder received initial traction when the horrific video was posted on social media. Social media is the latest and fastest-growing way to receive news. Jimmy Marlow, co-host of BNC's "Morning Hype" and "After 6ix," says social media offers opportunities for journalists to breathe and give a little more of themselves to their viewers.

"Social media provided the opportunity to connect and for people to understand things instead of just becoming knowledgeable about something on the broadcast," Marlow said.

Nayeera Haq, co-host of "The World Tonight" on BNC, and Blow said they have received news leads from Twitter and Facebook.

BNC has created a space for black journalists to cover all parts of news media. Black journalists can tell black stories from a place of understanding what is going on. "A white journalist writing about a black sorority member running for president said that the crowd was hooting at her, having not known that is a call-and-response associated with the organization," Haq said.

Black journalists are very important and can tell stories about black lifestyles and culture from a place of understanding, which is very important.

Michelle Fisher, co-host of "Morning Hype" and "After 6ix," told the students that they should spend time in every part of the newsroom in order to get a full grasp of working in media.

The virtual event, meanwhile, had to overcome some technical difficulties with the new system they were trying out and students were not able to hear much of the dialogue. Officials solved the problem by sending a link to the video.

Julian Bacon is a senior mass communications major and aspires to be a sports journalist