Why I Miss News One Now (and why Black journalists are critical)

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On Wednesday night we hosted sexpert Michelle Hope as part of a week where we have tried to address a number of issues related to sex- health, harassment, self defense, enthusiastic consent, legal issues, etc. The fact is so many students come to college with a pathetic understanding of their own bodies and poor social skills. With many being on their own for their first time and living on campus, this leads to issues. The news is full of college campuses wrestling with harassment and assault.

So I wanted to find someone who could provide information in a fun and engaging way. Now I get LOTS of unsolicited letters, emails, and even tweets from folks saying, “Hey, I’m a professional speaker. Hire me!” But I don’t have the time to try to research them and see if they’re going to be good for our campus. I always think a speaker that I invite is a direct reflection on me- so I want them to be awesome so I can get some kudos!

So in addition to lots of reading, and great referrals, the news is a great way to find speakers. But as has been pointed out a number of times, there often is a lack of diversity of voices we see on mainstream news channels. So it is important to have black journalists with their own shows (like Joy Reid) that will expose us to new voices.

But it is also to have shows like Roland Martin’s News One Now. I was hardly ever able to see it live, but with technology I could also catch important stories on line on a variety of platforms. I saw Michelle on the show a few years ago and started to follow her on Twitter (@mhsexpert) to get a feel for what she does. I invited her and she accepted.

But without Roland Martin, I may not have ever seen her. On shows like that he essentially can vet people before we make the time and resource investment to bring that person to campus.

I started Bless the Mic at Philander Smith in part being inspired by the State of the Black Union panels that Tavis Smiley did. I saw these great intellectuals and activists, and wanted to bring as many as I could to Little Rock. Some of those relationships continue today. Tavis will bring another panel to Dillard on Tuesday, and folks will be exposed to some of our local superstars like Kim Boyle, Kenneth Polite, and Dr. Eartha Johnson. You can register to attend here:

I can’t say this enough — diversity in the media is critical.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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