Black Americans Voice Concerns Over Negative Portrayals in Media and Insufficient Community Coverage

by Andrew Wright
Black Americans Media Representation

A recent study has revealed widespread apprehension among Black Americans regarding their representation in the news media. According to research from the Pew Research Center, the majority report experiencing racially insensitive or outright racist portrayals in news coverage, along with an inadequate representation of the diverse facets of their community.

The Pew Research Center’s findings indicate that 80% of Black adults frequently or occasionally encounter racially prejudiced depictions of their community in the news. This study, conducted almost three years after the death of George Floyd initiated a reassessment of racial perspectives in media, incorporates the views of nearly 5,000 Black adults through a comprehensive survey conducted last winter, supplemented by follow-up focus groups.

The survey highlighted that 63% of respondents believe that news coverage concerning Black Americans is predominantly more negative than that concerning other racial or ethnic groups. Additionally, 28% of respondents contend that such coverage is comparable to that of other communities.

Charles Whitaker, Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, considers these findings unsurprising. “Through both anecdotal evidence and my direct involvement with Black press, it is well-known that there is long-standing dissatisfaction among Black Americans with the way they are covered in the media,” Whitaker stated.

This sentiment is corroborated by the survey, which reported that 57% of participants feel that media coverage is selective, highlighting only specific segments of the Black community. In contrast, only 9% believe that the media portrays a broad spectrum of the community.

Richard Prince, a columnist specializing in diversity issues for the Journal-isms newsletter, argues that media outlets must invest greater effort into contextualizing news about Black Americans. “News organizations should understand that, like anyone else, Black individuals and communities have universal concerns, beyond those specifically tied to racial identity,” Prince noted.

He further commented that commercial advertising often does a more effective job in presenting Black individuals in universally relatable scenarios, such as family gatherings or choosing dining venues. Prince also raised the issue of media often treating Black crime victims as suspects, specifically mentioning the controversial case of five Black men wrongfully accused in the 1980s in New York’s Central Park.

The Pew study also highlighted that political affiliation did not markedly affect Black Americans’ views on media representation, with Pew’s Director of News and Information Research, Katerina Eva Matsa, noting negligible differences between Black Democrats and Republicans.

The survey also revealed that negative attitudes towards media representation correlated with higher income and educational levels. Whereas 57% of respondents in lower income brackets found news coverage about Black people to be more negative compared to other groups, that figure rose to 75% among higher-income participants.

Despite these findings, a significant majority of respondents, spanning various age groups, have low expectations for substantial improvements in media representation within their lifetimes.

The study indicated that while 40% of Black Americans find it crucial for Black journalists to cover racial and inequality issues, the race of a journalist is generally considered less significant for broader news topics.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, there has been a noticeable increase in the hiring of Black journalists in leadership positions within media organizations. However, Prince cautioned that this progress is taking place within an industry undergoing contraction, even as the role of social media continues to expand. “We’re integrating an industry that’s in decline,” he concluded.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Black Americans Media Representation

What is the main concern raised by Black Americans in the Pew Research study?

Black Americans express significant concern about how they are portrayed in the news media. The study revealed that a majority of Black adults feel that they encounter racist or racially insensitive depictions of their community in the news. They also believe that there is a lack of effort to cover the diverse segments of their community adequately.

What were the key findings regarding the perception of news coverage among Black Americans?

The study found that 63% of respondents believe that news coverage of Black people is often more negative compared to coverage of other racial or ethnic groups. Additionally, 28% feel that the coverage is roughly equal. Furthermore, 57% of participants think that the media only covers specific segments of Black communities, while only 9% believe that a wide variety of segments are depicted.

Did political affiliation impact the views on media representation?

Surprisingly, political affiliation did not significantly affect the views of Black Americans regarding media representation. The study showed that there were negligible differences in attitudes toward media coverage between Black Democrats and Republicans.

How do income and education levels correlate with perceptions of media representation?

The study found a correlation between income and education levels and negative attitudes towards media representation. Among respondents with higher incomes and more education, 75% believed that news coverage about Black people was more negative than coverage of other groups, compared to 57% of those in lower income brackets who held the same view.

Is there optimism for improvement in media representation among Black Americans?

The majority of respondents, spanning different age groups, expressed low expectations for substantial improvements in media representation within their lifetimes. This suggests a prevailing skepticism about the potential for significant change in the near future.

How are media outlets responding to these concerns?

Some media outlets have made efforts to increase the representation of Black journalists in leadership roles, particularly in the wake of George Floyd’s death. However, these improvements are occurring in an industry that is contracting, while the influence of social media continues to grow, posing challenges to broader changes in media representation.

More about Black Americans Media Representation

You may also like


EconGeek45 September 27, 2023 - 9:06 am

interesting study, income n eduction levels seem 2 play a role in how ppl perceive media.

JohnDoe92 September 27, 2023 - 4:14 pm

so sad 2 c the media not doin’ rite by black folks. they gotta do better!

NewsLover12 September 28, 2023 - 7:12 am

media’s coverage of black peeps is def an issue, hope they make some changes soon!


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News