Seven of the largest 100 cities are led by black women mayors. Pioneering journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault joins veteran journalist Sonya Ross, editor of Black Women Unmuted, on Philadelphia’s WURD Radio to talk about how the two teamed up to bring a new approach to covering black women and politics.
But will readers pay for a second year of Ferguson coverage?
Mariah Stewart, Huffinton Post’s reporter in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Huffington Post, owned by media giant AOL and led by mulit-millionaire Arianna Huffington, says it needs another $40,000 to retain reporter Mariah Stewart to cover Ferguson, Missouri, a city that set off a year of tension after unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, was killed there a year ago.
“For the past year, thanks to readers across the country, we were able to stay in Ferguson, Missouri, even as the cable vans packed up and reporters headed off to the next national event,” readers an email sent to supporters Tuesday evening. “With readers’ help, The Huffington Post plans to stay for another year.”
Two months ago, AllDigitocracy asked Huffington Post editors whether they planned to continue reporting in Ferguson, and if they planned to keep Stewart in the job. At the time a spokeswoman declined to respond to our question, and Stewart said she did not know.
Huffington Post first retained Stewart in August 2014, following Brown’s death and weeks of violence. When Huffington Post launched its first crowdfund campaign to pay for its Ferguson coverage a year ago, editors did so, they said, because the position had not been included in the company budget. There was no reason given for why the position was not fully budgeted in-house for the upcoming year’s worth of coverage.
Stewart has spent much of the past year chronicling the structural inequities affecting the city and its surrounding communities. She has also spent her time producing coverage for The St. Louis American, a newspaper that targets the area’s African American readers.
The new crowdfund campaign will allow Huffington Post to continue this unique partnership with The St. Louis American, Tuesday’s email states.
So far $11,180 has been raised from contributors in the current crowdfund campaign. Supporters have 10 more days to donate.
By HUGO BALTA
Like many of us this spring, I went to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” As I was sitting in the theater watching 20 minutes of trailers, downing a soft drink and passing the overpriced bucket of popcorn around with my wife and children, all I could think was: “I hope this movie delivers on the nearly $100 outing that this is costing me.”
It didn’t disappoint, of course. How could it? The movie was filled with many incredible action sequences, special effects and Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is just cool. He brings sexy back for us 40-something guys with graying facial hair. But I digress. Middle-aged billionaires in formidable flying armor are a story for another time.
After the movie, my family and I engaged in our usual post-movie conversations. We break down every second of every scene: the acting, the plot, the fighting sequences, the new characters, and so on. Positing about superhero flicks is an especially entertaining ritual with my 9-year-old son because it usually concludes with a debate about which is the best. I favor the ingenuity of the terrestrial kind. He leans on the otherworldly costumed defender. It’s tough to argue against a Norse god.
We ended this latest movie bout in the same way we usually do: agreeing to disagree. But just before I thought we had put a period to the contest, my son told me something that not only ignited another conversation, but also inspired this article. He said, “The Avengers are one awesome family.”
A family? As a content developer, I found this fascinating.
The secret sauce
It had not occurred to me that Marvel’s secret sauce was familism. The Avengers’ social structure mirrors that of many Latino families, where the needs of the group are more important than any individual member — a framework, which resonates with the community and whose culture foundation is in helping family realize their potential and offering support in trying times.
A study by the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences measuring the effects of acculturation in the Latino community found three basic depths of familism: obligation, support and nationality.
La familia is something that all Latinos can agree on, despite tracing their roots or self-identifying from different countries. Familism is a core characteristic of all Latinos and, regardless of acculturation, family support remains. The obligation they have for one another is born from the overwhelming feeling of “We’re in this together.”
When applied to storytelling, familism was one of the factors driving Latinos to the movies this past summer and boosting sales at the box office. (“Avengers: Age of Ultron” made $191.3 million in its domestic debut.)
A 2013 study by the Motion Picture Association of America found that Latinos are more frequent moviegoers than other ethnic groups. Repeat business is important. It not only increases ticket sales revenue, but it also increases the revenue of the theater concession stands. On behalf of my wallet, you’re welcome, AMC Theaters.
I relate to Iron Man, and my son relates to Thor. I coquettishly look at my wife as Black Widow and, given all of the mood swings that my preteen daughter is demonstrating, well… she’s the Hulk. At the center of the story are men and women of different ages and backgrounds committed to one another despite their differences. They work together defying the odds, which they couldn’t possibly do alone.
An authentic setting
It’s not just a movie of an adopted family of heroes that’s reverberating with Latinos this year. The latest edition of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Furious 7,” made more than $143 million out of the gate. The diverse cast, portraying a family-like group of friends, is credited with genuinely connecting with Latinos.
The two or two-and-a-half hours of a movie aren’t necessary to establish familism in storytelling. Companies like Wells Fargo are applying it to their total U.S. Hispanic marketing strategies. Additionally, the commercial “First Paycheck” features a young woman celebrating her economic milestone with family in an authentic setting — the home.
In order to produce content that is relevant with Latinos, it must be familiar, focusing on the community’s core values and centered on family. The key to success is in designing messages that promote a strong work ethic, the value of education, a celebration of achievement and responsibility to one another.
In other words, make sure to keep it all in the familism.
Hugo Balta is the senior director of multicultural content, ESPN Digital & Print Media. Balta leads initiatives in raising the quality, profile and delivery of diverse newsgathering and storytelling. He is the immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). Twitter: @HugoBalta.
I’m going to agree with Sara Palin for a second here. The mainstream media (correctly nicknamed the lamestream media by Palin), is fixated on the gottcha moment (while her use of the term was clearly misapplied).
Reading reviews of “The Unknown Known,” Erroll Morris’ excellent new documentary about former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the criticisms of the movie are that Rumsfeld was allowed to talk too much, but never hang himself. The reviews want a gottcha moment, and it never provides the sound-bite that our media has been developed to only care about these days. Rather than see the 90 minute self-character-assignation that the film clearly is, they are left upset that Rumsfeld never flat out says he was wrong about any of his decisions regarding America’s war on terror.
It is no wonder that our news media was unable to hold Rumsfeld’s feet to the fire because they were unwilling to see his statements in a broad sense, only in answer by answer. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show is about the only major media source that I’ve seen that actually compares previous statement to each other. When one day Rumsfeld claimed the sky was blue, then the next said it was purple, most major outlets lacked the desire for perspective or history to compare the contradictory statements. The Daily Show, on the other hand, makes a living out of overlaying ignorant statement upon contradictory ignorant statement. Our media outlets seem to have no memory, and no focus on news citizens need to know.
One of my favorite examples of this is the Exon Valdez story. In one of the first major press conferences, Exon mentioned a low end estimate of oil spilled, when a follow up question was asked, the next words from the speaker’s mouth were that alcohol was suspected to be at play. The entire room in a matter of nanoseconds had been distracted from the important issue, to the squirrel running across the stage. To this day, we do not have an accurate estimate of spilled oil. Our media has no ability to…. whoa, is that a Kim Kardashian nip-slip!
Luke Held is the proud father of two critical thinkers in Seattle, Washington. He believes in the founders’ vision of an informed electorate through strong media and press, and feels that it has abandoned this mission letting profits become its driving force. He believes that a key to righting the American ship is to call out our news media when it fails, and help others to consume media intelligently.