Youngstown Press Club to Host Panel on Black Media

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Press Club will host a panel discussion, “Obstacles and Opportunities: The Future of Black Media,” at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Williamson Hall auditorium at Youngstown State University.

Presented in collaboration with Youngstown State University Department of Communication’s Anderson Program in Journalism and Youngstown State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the panel will feature prominent Valley journalists and media producers who will discuss the challenges that face Black journalists and media professionals

The panel, which will be moderated by longtime Mahoning Valley content creator and YPC member Art Byrd, will include Ernie Brown, retired regional editor for The Vindicator; Aaron Deane WYTV evening anchor; and Malaynia Spiva, reporter for WFMJ.

The idea for the panel was developed after conversations among Press Club members on the growing need for diversity among local newsrooms and media outlets, according to a YPC news release. 

“As media outlets grow and options for news consumption expand, the importance for representation has never been more important,” Adam Earnheardt, YPC executive director and YSU professor of communication.

The Center for Community Media at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism analyzed the coverage of nearly 100 Black-owned news outlets over 15 months between March 2020 and May 2021. In general, it found that Black media published as much as six times more coverage than mainstream outlets on issues of importance to Black communities, including racism, health disparities, and voting access.

The “Why Black Media Matters Now” report found that one in four articles in Black media mentioned racism or related issues, as compared with less than one in 10 in mainstream media. When COVID-19 hit, Black media wrote five times more on the disproportionate racial impact of the pandemic and nearly twice as much on frontline and essential workers. 

Black media also stood out in its focus on a variety of other health issues of particular relevance to Black communities, including maternal health, hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell disease, according to the report. In addition, it led the way in coverage of voting access, racism, and stories that humanize the individuals and groups in the news.

“When media scholars examine the importance of Black media, reports like this show a distinct ability to find parallels between modern day news events and historical injustices that mainstream outlets tend to ignore,” Earnheardt added. “This report found that Black journalists and media outlets are more likely than the mainstream media to humanize their stories by focusing more often on communities, family, men, women, and children.”

Off-street metered parking is available near the Williamson Hall building, or attendees may park in the Wick Deck off Wick Avenue for $5 in cash per vehicle. 

Pictured: The panel moderated by Art Byrd will include Malaynia Spiva, Ernie Brown and Aaron Deane.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.