SPJ Florida and SFBJA Host “Black Lives Matter” Panel

SPJ Florida partnered with the South Florida Black Journalists Association to host an online webinar, “Black Lives Matter: How Well is the Media Covering Race?

With the #BlackLivesMatter movement being such a prominent part of the news cycle, both groups sought to create a dialogue with experts to help journalists better cover both the movement and issues of race in general.

Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs, an assistant professor of history, interim chairwoman of the Department of Social Sciences, and university historian for Florida Memorial University, was able to provide insight from an academic and historical point of view. FMU is the only historically black university in South Florida. Nadege Green, a reporter for WLRN focusing on social justice and the LGBTQ community, shared her experience covering minority communities and issues in the newsroom. Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, founder of Dignity and Power Now, and the director of Truth and Reinvestment for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, was scheduled to participate but was unable to make it due to illness.

The panel was moderated by Erika Glover, a reporter for NBC 6.

Using GotoWebinar allowed for journalists around the state and beyond to attend the panel, as well as send in questions and comments throughout the hour-and-a-half discussion.

“The success of using an online panel really opens up so many possibilities for us in terms of programming,” said Christiana Lilly, vice president of SPJ Florida. “I was really happy with how we were able to bring together experts and attendees regardless of distance to have such a lively conversation.”

Attendees sent in questions about diversity in the newsroom, examples of good and bad reporting, how to better relationships with law enforcement, and pop culture references to Black Lives Matter, including Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance of “Formation” and Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Grammys.

“I was very pleased that the discussion was thoughtful and candid, and that each panelist provided excellent insight into how journalists can better cover issues of race and other issues affecting minority communities,” said Suzette Speaks, president of SFBJA. “We want to continue this dialogue and definitely look forward to teaming up with SPJ in the future.”

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