Why Twitter ignores the black press and embraces white media | Comment

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The New Pittsburgh Courier, the St. Louis American, and the Philadelphia Tribune are among the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) ‘s most popular print and digital publications.

The 81-year-old NNPA is the trade association representing the more than 230 African-American-owned newspapers and media companies of the 194-year-old Black Press of America.

Founded in New York with Freedom’s Journal before the end of slavery, the world recognized the black press as the trusted voice of the African American community.

But, Twitter did not recognize the black press.

While nearly all white-owned media wear the blue verification badge provided to Twitter users to recognize their credibility, authenticity and public interest, the social media platform has mostly turned a blind eye to the black press.

Preliminary research only found the legendary New York Amsterdam News with a blue check mark. Even then, the newspaper’s prolific editor, Elinor Tatum, tweets without verification.

Famous publications like the Philadelphia Tribune, Washington Informer, Atlanta Voice, Houston Forward Times, Chicago Defender, Los Angeles Sentinel, and New Journal & Guide are not recognized by Twitter.

Ironically, the New Journal & Guide to Virginia unveiled the story of the famous “hidden figures”.

This story became a blockbuster movie and introduced Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson to the world.

Hard-hitting black press reporters like Jeffrey Boney of the Houston Forward Times, Anthony Tilghman of the Washington Informer, and Chris Bennett of the Seattle Medium have also been overlooked by Twitter.

A thesis by Michael Oby at Georgia State University noted that Black Press’s coverage of the lynching of Emmett Till proved to be a catalyst for the civil rights movement.

“Subsequent articles in the black press reported not only the murder and trial of Emmett Till, but also growing mobilization within the race, including the creation of civil rights groups,” Oby wrote.

“News and opinion coverage in the black press provides substantial evidence that this mobilization sparked the civil rights movement of the mid-1950s, just months before the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr. ”

Oby extolled the value of the black press in the thesis, which fulfilled his requirement for a master’s degree.

“We should have all black-owned newspapers and media companies and black journalists checked on Twitter,” said Tilghman, who enlisted the help of National Association of Black Journalists president Dorothy Tucker.

Tilghman and others wonder why Twitter is moving quickly to verify non-black media, but continues to deny requests from black publications and journalists.

Despite past critiques of racism, having its own caste system, and discrimination, Twitter seems unfazed in its ignorance of the 194-year history of the black press and the impact of many accomplished journalists who work. for the NNPA.

The organization had no problem verifying the account of Jason Kessler, a well-known white supremacist who used the platform in 2017 to hold Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.

San Francisco-based Twitter says that all official accounts of qualified news organizations and individual accounts of journalists employed by verified news organizations are also eligible for the blue check if their account is public without protected tweets.

In addition, the biography in the account directly refers to the name of the news agency and links to the official URL of that organization.

Twitter’s verification policy states:

“Eligible organizations include newspapers; magazines; television and radio networks, stations and news programs, broadcast by cable, satellite and streaming; digital news publishers; podcasts; media and similar media, and must adhere to recognized professional standards for journalism such as those set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Independent Press Standards Organization and the International Federation of Journalists, or are committed to upholding the code of principles of the journalist. ‘International Fact-Checking Network. “

Brown is a senior national correspondent for NNPA Newswire and can be found at @StacyBrownMedia on Twitter.


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