Racism has existed for centuries, and it’ll take the combined forces of thousands to scrub society of its ignorance and prejudices. But change won’t happen unless we all make an effort to take action.
For media companies, this means paying attention to minority community members and helping to educate audiences on social justice and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
It’s also in your company’s best interest to lend your support to black people. After all, there’s a clear connection between satisfying your digital community and long-term success.
“At the core of a successful news business is listening and serving your community of readers — especially those whose voices are often underrepresented in the mainstream conversation,” says Anika Anand, programming director at the Local Independent Online News Publishers association.
Media companies can better serve black community members by helping to amplify their voices. To get started, here are a few creative ways that will help you turn your brand into a supportive resource for black people in the battle against racism.
Invite Your Community Into the Conversation
You can prompt meaningful discussions from your company’s audience around fighting racism through organized live chats. Not only can these live conversations help media companies educate fellow community members on racism, but they also encourage those who have experienced racism to cut through their silence and speak up.
“The system of this [racist] web that surrounds all of us is reinforced by silence,” Beverly Tatum, a psychologist, tells CTV News. “So you have to speak up against it in the places where you are.”
Incorporating live chat into your company’s website or app will give visitors the ability to have a voice as users encourage each other to share their views.
In some cases, you may wish to leverage the help of role models in the black community and even your journalists to drive discussions within your community.
Feature Content Written By Black People
Just because objectivity is valued in the media doesn’t mean your company can’t showcase the experiences of marginalized communities and encourage social change.
Some media companies are taking steps to present personal experience articles, written by black individuals.
People, for example, ran a series of personal essays from black perspectives on racism right on its website.
Since these pieces were written by people who have experienced racism directly, they’re all the more powerful in promoting equality.
Showcase Powerful Communications Between Visitors
As reliable content sources with hundreds and thousands of followers, there’s value in offering visibility into the raw, unedited voices of black people.
One simple way to achieve this is by offering up your digital properties to comments from your audience members. That way, any content you produce relevant to the BLM movement will allow consumers to share their own opinions and experiences with racism right on your properties.
You can then collect groups of user-generated comments that address similar issues, and showcase them in an article.
In a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 74% of respondents suggest that “bringing people of different racial backgrounds together to talk about race… [is an] effective [tactic] for groups and organizations that work to help black people achieve equality.”
Be cautious of trolls, though. Keep offensive and racist commenters off of your platform to encourage a constant stream of civil conversation in your community. You can ward off trolls by ensuring your community guidelines are up to date and that you have a proper moderation solution running.
Share Protest Updates in Real Time
It’s been several weeks since George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and protests advocating for equality continue to take place.
With 83% of young adults following this news, there’s a clear appetite for information about the ongoing protests against racism. However, so much of this news gets twisted on social media by trolls, public figures and individuals who are simply misinformed.
Now, publishers have the chance to host live blogs on their websites to create trusted hubs of information around the protests. These pages can be used to feature accurate updates, interviews with protesters, and related thoughts from black role models.
Black lives matter — so highlight the black voices that you have access to right on your digital properties. That way, your media company can become a center for anti-racism that supports and is supported by the many voices of its community.