By Black Headline News
With the dawn of a forced-on technology upgrade in Black America due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, internet and mobile users have become more dependent on online news, information, podcasts, and online video news to be informed; Black newspapers suffered during the unknown phase of whether their papers would help spread the evasive COVID-19 virus. Some were forced to also have a digital presence combined with their external readership, expanding online readership by default—a worldwide public emergency message detrimental to the Black community.
Although the trend has increased for Black Americans for getting their news, political updates and expert information online, Black news media is often left out of the loop of massive, potential return of online readership due to the predominant, online presence of the mainstream media who usurps the Black readership automatically. Poltico.com article noted that Broadcast television and cable are making way for streaming, while news deserts keep growing. Hedge funds continue to acquire local news operations and cut staffs. Such mainstream media outlets often have bigger budgets to reach massive audiences digitally or have had almost a century head-start of news media lineage at their advantage, (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.)
The article continued: in large cities, the New York Times and the Washington Post have bought up any remaining newspapers and are going head-to-head fighting for the well-off city residents willing to pay for news. The Times and the Post are also chasing the expensive and exclusive local POLITICO and Axios outfits, who have cornered the local business and political elite (replacing the Wall Street Journal).
However, Black Americans are looking for more truth in reporting; thus, they are turning to trusted sources of news, specifically the Black Press; the George Floyd incident was a key turning point in how news was reported nationally compared to the Black Press’ perspective. In fact, an article by the Black Press Research Collective pointed out how history has shown that the Black Press was and is still known today as “advocates for justice,” reporting on the distortions and ugly untruths that white newspapers have often published about African Americans. Black journalists have been described as “Soldiers Without Swords.”
Moreover, as mainstream media outlets online and offline are collaborating to have more leverage for survival, the Black press and media outlets are doing the same, but for a different cause—a stronger voice and more precise, vetted news and information from a Black perspective.
Such is the call to action for a stronger, collective voice, the collaboration of the Black Headline News (BHN) channel was formed, highlighting the headlines from the Black Press and online Black media outlets.
Managed and hosted on the AMPTV Network platform, which is owned by Info Media Distribution, a Black woman-owned company, the Black Headline News channel is broadcasting across website platforms, mobile apps, and public access TV stations; the channel is to garner approximately 1.2 million views per week during its current soft launch with the anticipated addition of giving availability to over 1,000 public access TV stations nationwide.
From, breaking news, elections, sports, world, national and regional news, and special feature reports, viewers get a run-down of regional news headlines from the Black press. Viewers can scan the QR code with a mobile device to read more about news stories and more at their convenience.
The broadcast also includes live reports and interviews from BHN news journalists, anchors and news producers: BHN founder, experienced news publisher and executive producer,Julia Dudley Najieb; seasoned photojournalist,Ken McCoy; northern California newspaper publisher and marketing professional, Brigitte Jones; experienced journalist and digital news publisher, Tiffany Medois and sports news commentator, Alexandria Smith.
The BHN news anchors and producers will be collaborating and interviewing participating Black news outlet representatives and experts from across the nation, as expert commentators or for breaking news items, in real time. BHN intends to provide mini-grants for breaking news items to participating Black news outlets, as well as stipends for requested appearances from Black news outlet representatives.
Also, individual digital Black newspaper groups are including their news programs and trending talk shows to the BHN collective: INFO-MD’s ONME News Network show, News Too Real, SpaSho Media’s Black women’s’ skincare and health show, Tres Beau; The Black Wall Street Times; Real Times Media’s Chicago Defender and the Michigan Chronicle news programs.
Black Headline News is also making a shorter, digest version of their programming available to public access TV nationwide and worldwide two-four times per week.
According to the Pew Research article, Black Americans are more likely than others to prefer to get their news on television, and are more likely than any other group to follow local news very closely.
Thus apart from program sponsorship, the Black Headline News Digest is a 30-minute, commercial-free regional news broadcast to inform viewers of the latest news headlines featured in Black news outlets from across the nation and world—available to over 1,000 nationwide, participating public-access TV channels onPEGMedia, an open media exchange for all PEG stations.
Through the onslaught of media partners and distributors, viewers can currently access the BHN channel through free mobile app provided by partner, BlackTradeLines, The free mobile application can be downloaded from the app Google Play store or from the Apple app store. INFO-MD has had a live linear channel on the app for several years; the BlackTradeLines app currently garners 250 K users with over 100K views per month of the BHN channel.
Since the recent launch on Roku, July 6, 2022, over-the-air viewers can now watch the linear programming, 24/7 stream, as long as they have a Roku device.
Or viewers can watch the live, linear BHN channel directly online via the Black Headline News website. Although in a soft launch, the channel has garnered over approximately 5K views per week from online sources.
Other national partnering organizations include BOBSA, a premier national organization with over 8,900+ members; it provides African American’s the platform to demonstrate competitive leadership in the $9 billion-dollar Black Hair Care & Cosmetic Industry nationwide and internationally. They have automated newsfeed coming from Black Headline News.
Mostly importantly, an array of online Black press outlets who are a part of the recent Black Media Initiative (BMI), a program funded by The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York’s Center for Community Media, which is currently moderated by BMI Director Cheryl Thompson-Morton, their headlines are featured throughout the BHN channel daily.
The Black Media Initiative was started in 2020 to support Black media outlets through advocacy, convenings, training and research. Its aim is to be a one-stop resource for publishers of Black media, connecting them with available resources to build their capacity and stay sustainable—the Black Headline News channel was birthed through the encouragement of the BMI collective.
As a call to action, Black publishers, video content producers, advertisers’, corporate sponsors, and supportive viewers are asked to join in the movement, by acting within their parameters.
The online BHN channel is a community-purposed movement, to give African-American press, publishers, video content producers, podcasters, and show hosts a free platform to showcase their work collectively, while also attaching their own private sponsors, using the numbers of the collective, online audience already distributed by INFO-MD on the BHN platform.
Online publishers and video content producers also have the opportunity for immediate revenue splits of the advertising on the BHN platform up to 80 percent of the net per monthly advertiser.
As the soft launch continues, INFO-MD looks forward to attaching more media partners, corporate sponsors, video content producers and more, while moving forward in reporting the news on the current BHN platform. Newer programming and podcasts recently confirmed are set to premiere by the third week of July 2022.