Career Crossroads: Making the Choice Between Multicultural and General Market Media

Career Crossroads Derek T. Dingle

Join us on the third Wednesday of every month for Career Crossroads, a look at how journalists, bloggers, and freelancers are adapting to the changes in their media careers. Catch up on previous installments at bit.ly/careercrossroads.

Not every minority journalist aspires to a career in general market media. 

A job in top black or Hispanic media may be more rewarding. This was the case with Derek T. Dingle (@DTDingle), who has worked with BLACK ENTERPRISE  since 1983.

“I have always found at BLACK ENTERPRISE opportunities to grow, experiment, fail, and rise,” Dingle says. “During my first several years, Publisher Earl G. Graves, Sr. was confident in my abilities and not only gave me the opportunity to attend the year-long magazine management course at New York University at age 22, but allowed me to edit the magazine’s leading franchise – the BE 100s: List of the Nation’s Largest Black-owned Companies – and run the publication by the time I was 25.”

Nonetheless, he left BLACK ENTERPRISE for Money Magazine in 1990.  At that time, African Americans or people of color virtually were absent from the ranks of top editors or managers on the business side.

In fact, even as minority journalist organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) continue to advocate for diversity in the newsroom, the percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 percent and 14 percent for more than a decade.*

“That lack of diversity throughout the industry remains a persistent problem, and I find it quite shameful at a time when the nation is increasingly multicultural,” Dingle says. “Over a 25-year period, the magazine industry is still not reflective of the nation in which it reports.”

He returned to BLACK ENTERPRISE in 1999.  He came back because he felt the company’s mission and his own were very similar.  They both want to help African Americans advance across industries. The publication has played a key role in providing business and financial information to African American executives and entrepreneurs. It also has given exposure to rising black business stars.

Throughout his tenure with the magazine, Dingle has authored countless cover stories. He has served as editor-in-chief, overseeing editorial operations, and as chief White House correspondent where he gained the first print interview with President Barack Obama.

Derek T. Dingle interviewing President Barack Obama

Derek T. Dingle interviewing President Barack Obama

BLACK ENTERPRISE was the first to place Oprah Winfrey on the cover as a rising media powerhouse (Dec. 1986); to profile Kenneth Chenault as a promising executive at American Express 15 years before he was named CEO of the company in 1999; and break the story on Reginald F. Lewis’ historic deal to purchase Beatrice International and create the first black-owned business to generate more than $1 billion in revenue.

Today, Dingle is the SVP/chief content officer and is responsible for the strategic planning and editorial direction of the magazine.  He’s in charge of its live events, including Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, and Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge. In fact, its events platform has become one of the fastest-growing divisions within the company, allowing it to produce more powerful content for its media channels.

“We have grown from a single-publication company to a multimedia entity sharing such stories and information on our print, digital, social media, broadcast and events platforms,” he says.

There may come a point in your career when you have to decide between working in general market or multicultural media. For Dingle, a career in a black-owned media company not only inspired the development of new ideas and projects, it also satisfied his professional and personal goals.

* Source: The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) 2014 survey 

PR Newswire’s African-American press list can connect you with more news about the African-American community. If you are a journalist or blogger who would like to be added, please contact Jessica.Alas@prnewswire.com or follow us on Twitter @PRNAfricanAm.

Jessica Alas is Media Relations Director, Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire at PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica.

One thought on “Career Crossroads: Making the Choice Between Multicultural and General Market Media

  1. Pingback: Writers From Beyond Bylines & Beyond PR Share Blogging Resolutions For 2016 | Beyond Bylines

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