The ‘Black Twitter’ beat raises questions of cultural competency and audience engagement for newsrooms
In her memo to Los Angeles Times staff about new hires and coverage strategies designed to tap into diverse communities, managing editor S. Mitra Kalita included a tweet-worthy phrase about the hire of Dexter Thomas, a writer assigned to cover Black Twitter: it really is “so much more complicated than that.”
It’s a phrase that should give newsroom leaders pause before they reconfigure their social media and audience engagement strategies without considering the historical context and demographic trends that underpin such a decision. There’s no portal to Black Twitter. No special password. The phenomenon is people-centric, with highly active Black users tweeting about issues of concern in our communities — just like many of Twitter’s other 236 millions users.
Some online reaction to the Times memo reflected concerns of corporate media surveillance. Read more