Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coverage of Black History Month Called for Innovation in February

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coverage of Black History Month Called for Innovation in February

Article excerpt

One of the more difficult jobs in the news business is finding

interesting ways to cover annual events.

March is a good example, with the River Run, the Players

Championship, St. Patrick's Day and Women's History Month.

At least the Times-Union finished the month of February on an

upswing, with an interesting way to cover Black History Month.

Kenneth E. Walker, director of photography, organized a daily

item on local African-Americans. The title was Black Voices.

The good news items were spread throughout the various

sections. They didn't require lots of space. And they gave the

subjects a chance to speak in their own words.

Walker said the idea was to pay attention to the achievements

of local African-Americans.

They weren't all celebrity profiles, though notables like

Sheriff Nat Glover and Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, were

included.

Black Voices was designed to offer a sampling of the community,

Walker said. Examples: An 83-year-old Boy Scout leader, a

13-year-old saxophone prodigy and the young founder of a private

school.

"We realize we couldn't do everybody," he said.

But there always is next year.

My comments: A few readers wonder why the Times-Union covers

Black History Month rather than simply American history.

It was covered years ago for the most basic reason: news value.

Many achievements of African-Americans had not been reported. As

the years passed, local Black History events emerged that

deserved coverage.

The way you feel about this also depends on your vision of

America. Is this nation a melting pot, in which people lose

touch with their ancestry? Should we stop celebrating all ethnic

celebrations? Ignore St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day?

Or is America a quilt, in which the backgrounds of the

individual groups work together for the whole?

From this listening post, the choice is clear. Readers say they

want coverage of ethnic celebrations. …

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