Black Voices in Media speak at FAU for Black History Month event

In honor of Black History Month the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies’ Critical Conversation Series hosted: Shifting the Paradigm: The Importance of Black Newspapers.


Carol Bishop Mills

Flyer courtesy of FAU

Darlene Antoine, Features Editor

In honor of Black History Month, the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies’ Critical Conversation Series hosted a Zoom Q&A discussion called “Shifting the Paradigm: The Importance of Black Newspaper,” which focused on the importance of inclusion, representation, and awareness in the newsroom.

With 45 virtual participants, both FAU students and faculty heard from prominent Black journalists who spoke about the importance of advocating and writing about Black news.

The panelists in this event consisted of Editor-in-Chief of the Paradigm Press Kennedy McKinney, Award Winning Multimedia Journalist C.B. Hanif, Editor-in-Chief of Legacy Magazine and FMU Professor Russell Motley, President of Tene Croom Communications Tene Croom, and event moderator Reporter for NPR Wilkine Brutus.

When asked about the importance of the significance of the Black voices, the panelists described the necessity to not simply be a voice to a voiceless minority, but rather to amplify the actions of a community through a more inclusive perspective. 

“At FAU, a lot of issues and accomplishments that the Black community had weren’t getting covered, simply because people from our other newspaper just didn’t really have that strong tie to the Black community or that connection, McKinney explained. “So by having Black students write about their peers, their friends, their clubs, we’re able to have that special insight and publish stories about our sector of the community.”

McKinney made history when she started the first Black student newspaper, the Paradigm Press, at a non-Historically Black College University (HBCU).

The struggle for representation in the newsroom is a long standing issue through history, as panelist Hanif recounted a story of his own high school experience dealing with the matter.

“When I was in high school, we actually took over the school cafeteria one morning in a student protest, because we weren’t represented in the curriculum. This was at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, which had been desegregated for six years. We were fighting for some representation in the curriculum, that wasn’t happening. So we basically showed up and somebody locked the cafeteria doors with chains. They ended up taking us to jail on school buses, and [we sung] Black Panther party songs all the way because it was that kind of time,” Hanif said.

The other panelists agreed that Black voices in journalism are vital for platforms to engage with a different perspective while still having a high and objective standard as any other newspaper.

“The Black press is necessary because we have a different perspective that may not be covered in mainstream media. That’s not to say that we need to be subjective or biased in our reporting. We have a job to do. I’m a journalist, I do have a magazine, Legacy Magazine, which is inside the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel. I hold my magazine to the same standards as the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel. The only difference is, we cover a very specific population, with specific subjects in the community, which is the Black community,” Motley said.

The panelists reiterated the importance of raising awareness not only for simply covering stories about Black community, but also on the connections it establishes between individuals.

“The importance of Black press today is to provide special insight on certain stories that I believe can only be told from the Black perspective. While they can be told by other people, it’ll be most accurate and have the connection to the story when it’s told from the Black perspective,” McKinney said.

Darlene Antoine is the Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].