Change Sans Black Journos? : News & Views Does "change" on cable news come sans key black journalists?
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Change Sans Black Journos?

The new MSNBC slogan. hide caption

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The New York Times just published an article on MSNBC and its new slogan, "Experience the power of change."

It read in part:

Watch MSNBC, a new commercial for the cable channel intones, and "experience the power of change.".... Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for the network, suggested that the message was a temporary one.

"'The Power of Change' is a line we're using in an election week promotion campaign. MSNBC has been and will continue to be 'The Place for Politics,'" he said.

It seemed clear that MSNBC, in tapping into the theme of "change," was seeking to appeal to its liberal constituency just as the Fox News Channel seeks to appeal to conservative viewers. On election night, Fox attracted many more viewers than MSNBC — until Mr. Obama was pronounced the victor. During the midnight hour, when Mr. Obama spoke in Chicago, MSNBC averaged 5.6 million viewers, compared with Fox's 3.9 million.

What I observed, when I watched the commercial that goes along with this new campaign, is that "change" is personified by five white journalists (one of them a woman, Rachel Maddow) standing shoulder to shoulder.

Does "change" come sans key black journalists?

Yes, there are plenty of black opinion analysts on MSNBC and all the cable outlets (not so many Latinos and virtually no Asian or Native Americans though). But there are many fewer black hosts and reporters on television or radio; or key reporters covering the White House or Congress in print and other forms of media.

So: does it matter that there are so few black reporters and hosts at the heart of the era of "change"? I'm not being cavalier here, I'm asking you a real question. Do you care? Or does it not matter?

(We are also living through a total decimation of media as we know it, particularly print, but no media [including online] is exempt. To get the latest info, I've been scanning Richard Prince, Romnesko, and Gawker.)

Since we'll be doing a conversation on race, media economics and coverage on Thursday, this is your chance to give us your take on the issue ... and we'll get some of your wisdom on the air.