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Here’s a clue. Katherine Stapp of Inter Press Service recently reported that first nationwide assessment of foreign-language and other ethnic media found that ethnic radio, television and newspapers in United States now reach 64 million people. However, article adds, Sandy Close of New California Media says "only three to four percent of 145 billion dollars spent on U.S. advertising goes to ethnic media." With these figures we can expect to see more profit-oriented mainstream publishers setting up shop to get a piece of lucrative “ethnic” market.
One might mention quality factor. It is true that budget limitations prevent Black media from providing glitz and glamour comparable to that of mainstream press. Don’t criticize, take action.
Start by subscribing to a Black publication today. If your cable station does not offer TV One or Black Family Channel, make a request to your cable provider. If they don’t respond, this is your opportunity to complain. For those of you with, or in charge of advertising budgets, make sure Black media is a major line item in your campaign. We need to be proactive, not reactive.
What if public relations professionals would not service Black media if a client only spent adverting dollars with mainstream? What if, instead of refusing interviews with Black press, publicists granted exclusives to Black media for A-list clients? Imagine impact if Will & Jada, Denzel, Halle, Jamie, Usher, Nelson, and Rev. Al only spoke with Black Media. Blacks are a driving force internationally, leveraging our power for just one week would position Black media across globe. It’s time for Black America to put up or shut up.
As end nears for BET Nightly News I urge you to stop complaining and take a minute to plead case for newscast. If you would like to see BET continue to provide their excellent coverage of Black news and events send a note to BET explaining why it is important to keep show on air. Email, fax, or send your message in a bottle, but let them know that we do support work that BET is doing for community. For those who don’t watch newscast, stand up for those who do.
The “look what they did to us now” approach is ineffective in new millennium. It’s time for Black folks to come out closet and demonstrate a little “Black Pride.”
Edrea Davis is a media consultant and multimedia producer. Contact her at http://www.dogonvillage.com