Friday, May 24, 2024

Black Voices: Social media is an important news outlet for diversity – Indiana Daily Student

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I start my day by checking social media, and there is a good chance you probably do too.
There are plenty of people who will say this is bad for you, but I would argue it is a necessity. It is 2022, and with the growth of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok, we can update ourselves on important news just by opening an app. News that might not be covered by major news outlets is often spread through social media, and this is helping people of color.
Six days ago, I opened Tiktok and the first video was about a string of bomb threats against historically Black universities. As soon as the video finished, I looked it up and read news articles about it. 
At least 17 historically Black colleges received threats, and the FBI is currently investigating them. Many of these schools took precautionary measures and shut down the campus, holding classes online. These threats arising at the beginning of Black history month are not coincidental, and this should be all over national news right now.
A 2019 Radio Television Digital News Association survey found only about a quarter of TV news employees are people of color. The lack of news coverage on topics dealing with racial issues and injustices could be attributed to the lack of diversity in those newsrooms.
If newsrooms are predominantly white, who will step up and advocate for communities of color? Diversifying newsrooms would mean diversifying news.
Social media gives a voice to those who are silenced. 
Another good example of social media catapulting important racial injustices onto the radar of major news outlets is the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. When Eric Garner was killed in 2014, the BLM movement gained traction on Twitter. 
The Center for Media & Social Impact did research finding those who support the movement used Twitter to share breaking news. A Pew Research Center analysis found hashtags related to racial injustices such as #BlackLivesMatter would consistently spike on social media platforms whenever another injustice occurred. 
In June 2020, more than half of Black and Hispanic social media users said the platforms are important to them for getting involved with the political issues affecting them. Only 34% of white users said the same. 
Advocacy is important to me, especially as a young Latina in America. Social media provides a way for people to stand up for themselves and be heard when major news outlets and corporations fail to spread news about minority populations.
Next time you wake up and immediately start jumping between social media apps, don’t feel guilty! You never know when you are going to come across an issue that deserves more coverage.
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