By Keiona Eady
You will not meet the people you desire to network with sitting at home. Period.
Immersion just so happens to be one of life's greatest teachers. This weekend, I honored myself and my dreams by attending three powerful events; one to enhance my knowledge of the entrepreneurial world, another to mingle within the female blogging space and one to tackle my greatest giant- the world of media!
As someone with no formal journalism education who wants to grow within the everychanging media space, it is important to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.
On Saturday July 21st, 2018, OD Harris of OD Harris Media brought the Arizona media community together for The State of Black Media Panel Discussion at The Word Church located in Mesa, Arizona.
Close to 50 diverse media contributors and community members gathered to talk about their unique experiences in media, address trending topics such technology and politics, and how they have been able to adapt as media continuously evolves.
Key panelists were able to provide their industry insight while answering a series of interwined questions, furthering demonstrating how each individual's contributions make up the larger picture that is Black Media in Arizona.
"We have everything we need [in Arizona]", was repeated several times. This was a very valuable conversation that will help us all to do our job as a community to continue to inform the public.
Although I was only able to be present during the second and final panel of the event, I took copious notes to reflect upon and share with you. Media is an every changing field that requires those involved to constantly answer the challenging questions. Captured below is just a snapshot of key points expressed during the panel discussion featuring seven professionals who have a wide range of impact from television shows to community organizing.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Tremaine Jasper has successful operated one of Arizona's top online destinations PhxSoul.com, where over 11,000 monthly visitors get a full view of what's happening in the Valley.
As a business owner and full time Marketing professional, he understands that one reason his business thrives is because he is not afraid to pay others for their expertise.
Within his budget is an allocation for this type of expense. This maximization of time and talent allows him to successfully keep PhxSoul.com operating at the top, continuously driving traffic, and be a leading resource for the Valley.
Get Out into the Community
Representative Reginald Bolding has served Arizona over four years in the House of Representatives. Although many are seeking to have their stories told and should reach out to media outlets, he shared an important piece that reminds media professionals of their responsibility to those they serve.
"Be in the community- find the news", he shared. In this way, we are not just telling our own biased stories, but are truly capturing "the whole story" while building trust throughout our communities.
Think Outside of the Box
Much of what is shared on many media outlets is controlled by the all mighty dollar. Amanda Wynn, CEO of Support District Radio alleviates this burden for many who want to share a message but lack access to large amounts of advertising budgets.
Through her ownership of SDR, she has also provided several local entrepreneurs the opportunity to curate their own community content as radio hosts.
"Sometimes it takes someone else to get it done", expressing her allyship with the Black community. This understanding fueled her to start this online radio station that operates in both the Phoenix and Chicago markets and has multiple platforms that uplift the community.
Opening Doors for One Another
Roslyn Williams has a deep passion for those in need and in 2010 started Life Matters Ministries. Although she has a giving heart, she expressed her concerns about sharing resources in our community.
"We have a hard time sharing information with one another". Roslyn spoke about the deep rooted apprehensions that hold the community back from advancing such as the fear of someone else "getting ahead" with shared knowledge.
She reminded everyone of the larger objective. Although once you share information you may not receive so much as a thank you in return, when we help others and share resources with one another, we are creating opportunities that help the community as a whole!
Arizona DOes have Community
Cloves Campbell, a proud Arizona native is the second generation owner and COO of The Arizona Informant. Every year, increasing amounts of Black people from across the world relocate to Arizona. A common transplant concern is the feeling that Phoenix lacks an established black community.
In response, Mr Campbell expressed that there IS a community in Arizona, and transplants should take the opportunity to explore the history and current efforts of Phoenix's existing black community. "You have to do your homework", he proclaimed. In this way, each individual shapes a more accurate depiction of the black community.
Inspiring the next generation of black journalists
In a state that has a population of more than 300,000 African Americans, there are approximately 11 black faces reporting the news on television. Cameron Ridle, host of Good Morning Arizona knew at a young age he wanted to pursue a career in journalism and is one of those faces advocating for more black journalists. He is constantly seeking new ways to inspire more people of color to pursue the field of journalism and media.
While the industry needs be innovative in inspiring and promoting people of color, it is also important for those interested to reach out, ask questions and seek opportunities to help them pursue great programs such as the Walter Kronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and become the professionals that continue to break the televison color ceiling.
Building More Community
Dr Rodney Pearson of The Dr Rodney Show shared his experiences as an transplant from Oakland, California. When he first arrived to Arizona, like many, he felt like there was a lack of community. "We all just live here", he expressed.
Although his comment was met with some opposition, this opened up for conversation on media professionals banning together for the greater good! Media professionals share the unique opportunity to represent the whole and there should be more camaraderie.
We must all continue to lift each other as we climb and be unafraid to share the knowledge and wisdom we learned along the way to advance the culture!
Be the change you wish to see!
"If you crave community, you have to BE COMMUNITY". This very profound statement by Amanda Wynn captured the very essence of what brought many of us to this event- the intentional building of relationships to best serve the community. The work to be done in the Black community will never cease. It is our job to continue to meet in spaces such as this to build the community we wish to see!
For more coverage on The State of Black Media Panel Discussion, be sure to check out the OD Harris Media Facebook Page!