OP-ED: Diversifying American media ownership must become a national priority

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dr Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
Jim Winston

Diversifying America’s media ownership must become a national priority

By Jim Winston and Dr. Benjamin F Chavis Jr

So far, 2022 has been a year of numerous socioeconomic and political challenges for all Americans across the country. But for African Americans and other communities of color, this year presents both challenges and opportunities from the perspective of business owners. For Black-owned media companies in particular, there is a growing sense of resilience even in the face of persistent deep racial divides and societal inequalities.

The communications and media industry in America in particular should be one of the leading industries to embrace the sense of “good business” to embrace the values ​​and benefits of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). This is not about charity or benevolence. Diversity is objectively good for business.

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) are working together to encourage the media and advertising industries to become more proactive and engage in diversity, from the C-suites to decision makers . But more needs to be done to increase and strengthen ownership of media companies by African Americans and other minorities.

Economic equity in the media requires equal access to investment capital, technological advances in communications infrastructure, and involvement in other industry innovations. As increasing changes in the nation’s racial demographics continue to accelerate in the United States, American media must be more representative of the nation’s growing diversity.

It is therefore noteworthy that one of the recently announced big media mergers acquired Standard General, a minority-owned company pending regulatory reviews and approvals from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission; and acquired TEGNA, a company that owns 64 television stations nationwide. Soo Kim, a successful Asian-American leader who serves as a founding and managing partner of Standard General, said, “We are open to exploring new partnership models to bring diverse points of view and perspectives to the air and ensure people are informed about it has the necessary resources.”

We concur with this assessment as multiracial ownership of American media companies continues to be viewed as a strategic prognostic for the nation’s future economic well-being. We intend to raise our voices in support of the positive economic and social impact of America’s media diversification.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has pointed out: “Access to the media by the broadest sector of society is critical to ensuring that diverse viewpoints are presented to the American people, but racial and gender disparities in media ownership are just beginnings back in the era of civil rights persist.” Again, overcoming these differences should be a priority for the national media industry.

“At a time when increasing numbers of people, especially black people, distrust the media, diversity in media ownership,” argues the Leadership Conference, “is more important than ever to the functioning of our democracy. Diversity of ownership is part of that solution.” We agree with the position of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights on this issue.

Finally, as our nation prepares for the upcoming midterm elections in November, many are anticipating an overall low turnout. Millions of dollars are spent on Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaigns. Those looking to increase GOTV among African American and other communities of color must engage black media as Black America’s “trusted voice” to increase voter turnout.

Jim Winston is President and CEO of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), headquartered in Washington, DC.

dr Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), headquartered in Washington, DC.


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Jim Winston is President and CEO of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), headquartered in Washington, DC.

dr Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), headquartered in Washington, DC.

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