Why Black Media Still Matters

Earl G. Graves Sr., Chairman and Publisher of Black Enterprise

It’s no secret that the media landscape has evolved so radically and at so rapid a pace that it scarcely resembles the marketplace I entered when I started Black Enterprise magazine more than 40 years ago. Today, driven by digital technology and other factors, the number of outlets to distribute news, information, and entertainment—ranging from satellite radio, newspapers, and magazines to television on-demand, blogs, and social media platforms—is quite literally mind-boggling. When I began my magazine publishing company, I was part of a media market comprised of a relatively few and all but finite number of media players serving many media consumers. Now, we have an ever-growing profusion of media producers—the many are now engaging the many.

On the one hand, this has created opportunities for more people of all backgrounds, including African Americans, to participate in the creation and curation of content. On the other, we are facing a serious problem: the prolific growth in the number of media portals and outlets has not led to a proportionate increase in such outlets that advocate on behalf of and tell the stories of black people. To put it bluntly, we as black people are losing our share of voice.

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