Poll Results Show News Coverage Of Blacks Is Negative
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Eighty percent of Internet users believe that the coverage of African Americans in the news is “negative,” according to a recent TheLoop21.com poll.

Hundreds of Internet readers at TheLoop21.com participated in the “Truth in Media” audience poll, which measured the public’s opinions on how news coverage by the mainstream media affects racial perceptions. Nearly 90%, of the respondents do not think the mainstream news is “fair and balanced” in its coverage of African Americans.

“That is a very serious indictment of mainstream media and one that the media ought to take…and we ought to take very seriously going forward,” said Darrell Williams, publisher of TheLoop21.com.

More than 55% of respondents said that mainstream media’s coverage of racial issues during the past 12 months had “worsened” race relations.

In addition, the majority of respondents indicated that more reporting on “the achievements by African Americans” and “economic issues that affect African Americans” would cause them to spend more time watching, listening, and reading the news.

Turning the tide on negative coverage will need a two-prong strategy, says David Wilson, a pollster for TheLoop21.com and professor of political science at the University of Delaware. First, an increase in diversity of not only race but of perspectives in the newsroom will help increase fair and balanced coverage of all races. Next, he says audiences need to speak up.

“If they feel like the coverage is stereotypical and promoting negative images let it be known,” said Wilson. “Write a letter to the news channel.”

Nearly 82% of the approximately 400 respondents were black, and the majority of respondents were college graduates. The Truth in Media poll was conducted by TheLoop21.com from Feb. 24 to March 5.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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