Opinion: More color needed online

Jul 30, 2010


Stacie Bailey says more diversity is needed in online media.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, six out of 10 minorities get their news from a mobile source. But at a session called The Color of Online: Where Do We Fit In?,  panelist Madison Gray of Time.com said that there are more minority readers reading the news, than producing it.

A panel of journalists with experience in the field of online media came together to discuss the issues of diversity in new media as well as ways to increase the number of minorities in the industry.

The panelists — Gray, Politico’s John Harris, Melonyce McAfee of Slate, David Wilson of thegrio.com, Mike Oreskes of the Associated Press, Andrew Donohue of Voices of San Diego and NABJ board member Deirdre Childress of the Philadelphia Inquirer offered an overview about where they see (and don’t see) minorities in online media and then accepted questions from the audience.

As an undergraduate at North Carolina A&T, I served as the online editor for the A&T Register newspaper. In the fall, I will be an graduate student in interactive communications at Quinnipiac University. As I pursue internships, fellowships and jobs, my exposure to online media will increase, allowing me to see how many avenues there are in the  media field.

Working as part of the online team on the NABJ’s Student Multimedia Project, we are encouraged to tweet daily as a means of reporting. We are also expected to write blogs. An important point made during the session was that all journalists can be bloggers, but not all bloggers can be journalists.

With all of the new media tools, it’s important to realize that there are opportunities for minorities in the media but proper training is a must. Someone during the convention asked me why I was going to grad school and I told him I was going to receive more training. I was then informed that it isn’t more training  I need, but more opportunity. I view both as necessities.

Wilson made another valid point when he spoke of nationalizing local news. I’m now an avid tweeter, but I was skeptical at first because I didn’t feel like I had anything important to say. One of the main things I learned from the session has been a recurring theme throughout the convention — create a brand and a reputation for yourself. Building a platform to make yourself marketable allows media outlets to see your work and begin to trust your credibility. Instead of waiting for positions, we must learn to create our own and take risks.