It’s a problem that David A. Wilson hopes he can address with TheGrio (www.thegrio.com), a video-based site that provides African American-focused news and information. Partnering with NBC Universal, Wilson, 32, a documentary filmmaker (Meeting David Wilson) who heads up Three Part Media L.L.C., is a former lead producer at CBS News, ABC News, and a FOX conglomerate. He launched the site in June 2009 because of what he saw, that most African Americans did not. “I found a lot of [stories] and content that would be of interest to African Americans but that never surfaced nationally. It would just live and die in the local context.” Wilson says he wanted to find stories that resonated with African American communities, build original content on the site, and develop opinion pieces around them. And as a filmmaker he is adamant that video is the way to go.
Considering the ways in which video has served as a launching point for political discourse, social protest, and change, Wilson says, “I do think that in a world where there are so many cameras, video allows the story to live in a different form.” The site also serves another significant function: It provides African American writers access to mainstream audiences. Wilson explains that the partnership with NBC Universal places African American writers and site contributors—and their stories—in a national and international context.
“The African American market hasn’t really been explored with news as much as it has been with entertainment, sports, and music. News is sort of a new concept in this space,” he says. “We try to put out information that’s smart, comes from a variety of perspectives, and is not condescending to our users.”