NC Black Media Past and Present

With the release of Wilmington Race Riot Commission report we receive a way overdue official history of what happened on November 10, 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Did you know about this bloody coup d’etat? I hadn’t until I read “Blood Done Sign My Name”. Thanks Tim Tyson. Thank you Yolanda Carrington for telling me about this report.

Over one hundred years ago armed white men overthrew the LEGALLY elected government of Wilmington, North Carolina killing many people, driving out the local Republican leadership, and terrorizing the Black community. (Lest we forget the Republican party of those days was supportive of equal rights. It was the Dixie Democrats who were the racist segregationist.) You can read more about this untold historic event in the book “Democracy betrayed: the Wilmington race riot of 1898 and its legacy” and the website For The Record.

An interesting part of this story is the suppression of African American free speech. During the attack the Daily Record, reported to be the only black newspaper in the country at the time, was burnt to the ground. Some say this action was the spark that lit the massive violence of November 10. The Commission report writes of the involvement of North Carolina newspaper editors like Josephus Daniels – founder of the Raleigh paper The News and Observer.

Involved in the conspiracy were men prominent in the Democratic Party, former Confederate officers, former officeholders, and newspaper editors locally and statewide rallied by Josephus Daniels of the Raleigh News and Observer.

– Wilmington Race Riot Commission [PDF], Summary, pg. 5

Its important to note that the beginning of many coups and military actions begin with the destruction of communications. First a rally cry to those sympathetic to the cause via racist newspaper articles. Then outright physical destruction of the source of the oppositions communications. In this case it was the destruction of a black owned newspaper.

So when the modern conservatives try and dispel this report saying it doesn’t have anything to do with people in the present, tell them, “This violence was committed in your white name. To preserve white dominance over politics and power. Help restore the damage of the past now!”

I second the recommendation of the Commission that an endowment be created for young black journalists in North Carolina.

Newspapers (News and Observer, Charlotte Observer, Wilmington Star, Washington Post, etc.) should acknowledge the role of media in the events of 1898 and work with the North Carolina black press association to prepare a summary of the Commission report for distribution statewide. The Commission calls upon said papers to study the effects of 1898 and impact of Jim Crow on the state’s black press and to endow scholarships at the state’s public universities.

Hopefully these funds will be available to all types of media makers. Not just for young men and women entering corporate media outlets. Community journalists in small magazines, blogs, podccasts, public access tv, vloggs, etc. should be included too. Fund the salaries of several committed black activists to mentor and encourage young media makers.

Read what other bloggers have to say about the report from Wilmington.
Eric Muller
Sally Green
Y. Carrington

Harnessing the Work of Bloggers

Techorati has announced a new business relationship with the Associated Press. Read more about it at Technorati Teams With The Associated Press to Connect Bloggers To More Than 440 Newspapers Nationwide.

I was once told that the real definition of a professional is someone who gets paid for what they do. We know that there is more to the definition. I bet if you were to compare bloggers with journalists you’d find we’re both professionals.

Real bloggers write and link because they love. We’re news and politics junkies. We like our info fresh and witty. This propels many of use to write like mad. So we write to give other bloggers what we want from them.

Most of us don’t do it for pay. So what happens when corporations like Technorati and AP get together to aggregate bloggers work and put it up on their websites? Pro business people are always saying nothing is free. So how is Technorati and AP paying bloggers for the services we’re providing them?

One form of payment could be the ‘Neato Effect’. This is when you see your name or something you wrote in the paper. The first couple of times its a rush. The realization that hundreds if not tens of thousands of people are reading what you wrote. For most people this rush is payment enough. What happens when you have a blog and millions of people all over the world read your writing every day? What about when a smart weekly newspaper recognizes you as an expert and pays you to write it? You become a professional. Many bloggers have become pros in one way or another. The ‘neato effect’ as a form of payment just ain’t going to do it for me. Or many of other good bloggers out there I suspect.

Another form of payment is in website traffic. If a local or national newspaper site links to your blog post whether purposely or automatically via Technorati you should get a few more hits. What is that worth to most bloggers? In dollars and cents probably not much. You need tens of thousands of unique visitors to make money on advertising. So a few more from a newspaper of two won’t make a real financial contribution. If Digg or Slashdot links to you then your hits might jump for a day or so but it’ll also cripple your site too. Your Google ranking could increase over time. This might help your ad revenue. But in the end isn’t this just gaming the system?

What if you don’t care about making money on your blog? What does Technorati, AP, or newspaper website have to pay you with then? How about respect as an subject matter expert. That’s good for some karma and community value. How about influence? Political power? Publicity for good causes? Social change? There has to be some other kind of fair trade value.

The fact is for profit groups (newspapers) and a not for profit groups (bloggers) exist with different values that aren’t always compatible. Even if you’re a blogger and want to make money doing it do you think newspapers need your blog enough to pay you well? Hell they can’t seem to pay stringers very well.

Bloggers freely available content is being hijacked. Technorati is helping us find each other and in return is cashing in huge. So will their partners. Main stream media needs us. We’re vanguards of the future. We write in the trenches and get dirty doing it. Its true that many pro journalists have seen the light and are innovating too. I respect old school journalists. Really!

Its the masses of people creating on read/write web that will fill the bank accounts of businesses in the future. How will individuals get in on this? The future will be a giant negotiation for digital labor. We have serious leverage. Content creators like bloggers have real value in their ability to be creative.

Until newspapers decided to admit bloggers are another kind of professional and treat us as such these new relationships just won’t be fair at all.

Can You Digg What is Happening to Journalism?

Jeff Jarvis, Monday February 27, 2006 – The Guardian

I recently trained the faculty of the journalism school where I teach how to blog, vlog, podcast, wiki, and Digg. Actually, my son demonstrated Digg, and that was the most controversial moment of the day, as the professors fretted about second-rate stories getting on the front page. Jake showed them how the members can label a story “lame” and off it goes. He made it clear that Digg is owned by its public and that’s why it works. Shouldn’t all news organisations wish the public owned the news?

read more | digg story

Make Your Own Ethics

Am I ethical? I answer this question emphatically YES. But any time I think about such complex philosophical questions I immediately ask more questions. For example: What is ethics? How do we determine what is ethical? How are ethics formed?

I’m not turning the original question around to avoid answering it. Nor am I interested in obfuscating the core question. It’s just that when you start discussing such fundamental human issues you MUST take into consideration the complexity of human history and culture. There are a lot of different points of view. We can not just accept one ethical definition. We must analyze many.

Yet we must also consider what context, what frame of reference, we’re discussing these ethics within. The areas I’ve been thinking about recently are blogging, podcasting, citizens and professional journalism. Recently I was asked about my journalistic ethics during a talk about Audio Activism and podcasting. I almost immediately said, “I don’t consider myself a journalist. I consider myself a media activist. I don’t uphold myself to journalistic ethics.”

This was half jokingly answered, “Oh so you don’t have any ethics.” I suppose in the context of this talk among young journalists there is no other set of ethics to consider but journalistic ethics. Thus by disavowing ethics in general did I cast aside the one true ethics for media making? Not really. Just like I’m making my own media I can MAKE MY OWN ETHICS.

Without succumbing to hubris I will say I have strong moral and ethical values. They’re just not the most popular values of our country right now. I refuse to use only one name for my ethics and values. I refuse to adopt only one. I reserve the right to make changes to my ethics when ever I like.

Categories for your personal philosophy or ethics are valuable. It’s hard to deny category. Our brains crave them. We identify culturally and personally with groups that have names. But because of our chaotic world, values with precise names can become corrupted and vague over time. Maybe I am a moral relativist

So here I would like to recommend that all students and professional journalists question “Journalistic Ethics”. If anything this is precisely what blogs and podcasts are helping us do. Many of the ethics journalist hold dear are valuable and important. Do not throw all of them out. Just revaluate and recreate them. Then vow to be more diligent in upholding until serious events compel you to do otherwise. The power of twenty first century media making is one of those times.

ConvergeSouth-Ethics: What are the rules?

ConvergeSouth – Fri. Oct. 7
Ethics: What are the rules?
Meshing new tech with journalistic values
Lex Alexander and Jay Rosen

This is stuff I heard and captured my attention enough to write down. Not a complete transcript. 😀

MI = My Impression

Trust is estabilish differently umong blogers than it is umong the Main Stream Media.

You can’t take the “ten commandments” of ethics at the MSM and then try to use it to judge blogs on how they are doing.

Dave Winer says, “You sound so maternalistic like it’s your job to help us. Who are you to tell us how to edit our writting.”

(MI: I can’t get Dave’s exact question. This is a paraphrase…)

It’s a waste of my time to do interviews for 45 minutes where only tweleve words are going to be quoted. I don’t trust their editing. -Jay Rosen

Context: Dave Winer wants to know why we should trust a newspaper to edit our comments on their blog.

My Question:
The entire blogosphere is not journalistic in style or nature.
In the context of journalism, what do you think is the importance of these blogs?

(My question wasn’t formed well. Jay and Lex didn’t really understand it. It seems so by their answers.)

The first person to figure out how to use a blog to write true journalism news will be famous. – Jay Rosen

Where do you see blogs in the next 5-10 years? Will it hit the mainstream? -JOMC student

WKRN – broadcast journalist that get blogging.

Jay Rosen says, journalist exec. response to bloggers: “You don’t mean I have to put my name on what these blogers say!?!?!”

Audio from Greensboro’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings

Listen to testimony during the third round of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission public hearings held Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Recorded and edited by Ed Whitfield, a volunteer for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

There are twenty five mp3s that are approximately thirty minutes long. Wow! Ed Cone and other Greensboro bloggers have been covering the recent events of this story well. A big thanks to the Greensboro newspaper the News and Record for hosting this audio. I agree with Ed this is good journalism.
Via: Ed Cone

Is a huge NOLA land grab coming?

When I think about New Orlean’s reconstruction I really worry that the renters and poor residents will be squeezed out. A LARGE portion who are African American. With the huge amount of land and property that will have to be rebuilt there is a serious financial opportunity for developers. There is also a GIANT opportunity for developers to DO THE RIGHT THING and correct decades of unfair housing practices. In just a few years we could create new neighborhoods that will house and raise wonderful families with the ability to live the american dream. But developers won’t do this on their own. In their eyes community development just isn’t cost effective. That’s why citizen journalist need to hold developers feet to the fire!

Ed Cone links to a Atrios blog post with similar concerns. It is also the moral responsibility of the main stream media to keep a VERY close eye on this. The real story will be seriously obfuscated behind the bueracracy of planning boards, corrupt politics, and back room meetings. Bloggers, podcasters, and other citizen journalist can really help with this. We have the collective time to record all that goes on. Let’s keep the rebuilding process of New Orleans honest and fair for all!