My Truth

We deserve your respect

Cheryl Smith

Candidates, elected officials, PR Firms, everybody: you need to respect the Black Press. I went to vote the other day. As I walked into the polling location, supporters of candidates expressed their desire for me to cast my vote for their respective candidates. Actually while I thought my mind was made up, I was open to their conversations, if nothing other than being respectful of their desire to deliver a message; just like the Black Press. I went in and cast my vote and much to my chagrin, at 6:50 p.m., I was only the 105th person to cast a vote. I remember thinking that I hoped the turn-out was better across town where Deborah Peoples was in a heated race for mayor of Fort Worth, Texas. 

Line for line, side by side; Ms. Peoples was a better, more experienced candidate, but we all know the best does not always win. Anyway, as I walked out of the facility, after casting that oh, so important vote; the same supporters thanked me for voting. I thanked them for their work and told them to tell their candidates that “whomever wins, they should show more love to the Black Press and don’t just come to us when they want coverage.” Now the response I received was hopeful because guess what? Did you know that some elected officials only look to the Black Press when they have been burned by other outlets? 

Did you know that some elected officials will include news clips from other publications in their press kits and totally omit the clips from the Black Press? Still further, did you know that some Black elected officials won’t call the Black Press at all? Now it’s bad enough that others ignore us or attempt to devalue our impact or level of influence, and then we have to get it from those folks who should realize how valuable we are. If you didn’t know the above, you probably didn’t know that there are ad agencies, executives and folks responsible for purchasing advertising but totally ignore the Black Press. Well, ignorance of the industry is not an excuse. 

Newsflash: If you are responsible for reaching out to the media, you had better start showing some love to the Black Press. We are going to focus on you, especially if you are not doing your homework and providing sound logic for your media buys and interactions. Maybe your employer/client needs to do an audit of your activity to make sure that you are being diverse, equitable and inclusive. What will they find? Do you have a buddy system? Are you getting kickbacks/payola? Is there a sound methodology to your interactions? Are you even remotely knowledgeable about the publications you do, or do not, do business with? 

There are so many changes on the horizon and one is that folks who have decided that they are going to disrespect the Black Press will no longer get a pass. Maybe it is time to audit you. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have expressed much respect and appreciation for the Black Press. Heck, in his presidential bid Mike Bloomberg poured dollars into this valued entity; sending more than all the other candidates combined. Some people get it. They understand. Do you? Watch these pages in the future. We are going to do more to shine the light on fair and equitable treatment across all spectrums. We are going to begin to endorse candidates. Which means that this question will be answered: “Why do politicians have to pay up front for advertising? Ummmm! Yes, it’s a new day. Accountability will be the buzz word. Together we can accomplish much. We’re ready to do the work. Are you? If you want to know more about the Black Press visit www.blackpressusa.com or www.nnpa.org.

Cheryl Smith is Publisher of I Messenger Media Texas Metro News


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