How Journalists Can Champion Equity During Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Journalists have a unique opportunity to highlight the stories of accomplished members of this community throughout the month.
Here are several ways journalists can champion equity during Black History Month:
- Use those interviewing skills! Locate African American leaders, artists, activists, or community members. Engage them in conversations about their diverse experiences and perspectives. Infuse creativity in these conversations and highlight members within this community and their accomplishments.
- Get local. Pinpoint Black organizations and/or groups in your local community and learn about their events. Then share these events with your audiences. Capture the importance and relevance of not only the history of the organization but also the impact the event has on the greater Black community.
- Educate your audience. The greatest tool you have in your arsenal is the “pen.” Use it as a tool of education, offering your audience stories about the Black experience in America. Choose instrumental historic events and community figures, demonstrating their relevance then and now.
- Go deep in your stories. Dive into stories documenting barriers faced by Black community members, and how they overcame them.
- Support Black media. Opt to openly support, promote, and amplify the voices of Black media and journalists. Employ collaboration and join forces to create and share African American stories across all American communities. Use your amplification tools to share diverse voices and connect individuals to one another.
- Stay caught up. Be aware of how brands are highlighting and honoring the Black community. Follow the latest press releases sent via PR Newswire about Black History Month and the Black community to help generate diverse story ideas and connect with new sources. Plus, you can update your PR Newswire for Journalists newsfeed to be alerted to these stories in real time.
- Know your biases. Consider any personal biases and reflect on how you can document Black voices and experiences thoughtfully and accurately. Avoid stereotypes that create false and outdated narratives.
Black history and American history are synonymous. Strive to embrace opportunities that highlight the untold stories of people who shaped our nation. Remain inclusive and thoughtful storytellers, detailing accurate information that will ultimately honor the Black community.
February is a time that you can use your “pen” to recognize the past and present contributions of the Black community as well as where it’s heading.
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For the past 8 years, Joi has worked for Cision, helping clients understand and utilize their Cision services. Her talents allow her to enjoy writing and creating videos and art. She is also consistently researching the intersection of criminal justice and mental health.
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Joi earned her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University, followed by a Master's in Criminal Justice from Boston University. While in her Master’s program, she recognized the impact of mental health issues in the criminal justice system. This inspired her to pursue another advanced degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of the District of Columbia.
Outside of work, Joi enjoys spending quiet moments with her twin children and partner. She continues giving back to her community through work with her sorority and church. Though Joi keeps busy, she always makes time for her creative passions, exploring emerging developments in fields close to her heart.