Black Media is thriving these days

Black Media is thriving these days

One Type Of Business That's Thriving During Coronavirus: Black Media

While many large and small business owners across the world are seeing their profits flatline, the owners of small black-targeted media outlets and entertainment channels are experiencing a boom in business.

"We've been trending upward for the past few months and those numbers are not going down,” says Selena Hill, Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and host of “Be Heard Talk” podcast “We made an effort months ago to cover the CoronaVirus focusing on our inhouse writers and editors. We actually hired two new in-house staff writers earlier this year. The feedback from readers, the conversations on social media and when I share my own articles,” says Selena. “It’s telling and reaffirming my opinion that people are hungry for our content.”

Black people seem to be reading now more than ever. And we want to read about themselves. “Black people have gone to social media because there hasn’t been one central place that speaks to that audience,” says Ronda Penrice, Freelance Journalist, and Editor. “Being a freelancer has been hard; having to incorporate corporate writing and contracting, I’ve written for most of the black publications from AOL Black Voices to Ebony/Jet, Uptown, The Root and Upscale. For 20+ years I’ve always been passionate about telling our stories.”

Keeping Information Specific to their Audiences

Smaller more targeted outlets like TheGrio, InteractiveOne, Sheen Magazine and can be more nimble, as reader demand increases, editors have been able to call more on freelancers to arrange extra content and keep pages relatively full of information relevant to the Black reader. 

“Traffic has spiked in readership in the last weeks compared to before quarantine. So many readers have questions and it seems like each state in making decisions for themselves, there’s not one national broad mandate. There is a push for the truth,” says Gerren Keith Gaynor, Managing Editor at theGrio. “Our big wave of readership came in 2016 with the election of Trump. We are far more engaged in politics. Trump really activated Black readers, triggering a lot of people to get motivated to push back, making black media so much more relevant.”

TheGrio has beefed up both its staff and content, hiring two full-time writers and weekend staff to read the need for black content. “So much is happening so quickly and TheGrio is thriving and we are black-owned and still 100% black-driven.”

Sheen Magazine headquartered in South Carolina has seen spikes in readers but not just for health features, “We went up about 5,000 readers on our website this week but it doesn’t seem to be coronavirus articles people are gravitating towards,” says Thao Vo, Web Content Editor, “It’s still those features about talents they’re interested in.”

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Enspire Magazine has also seen a hike in readers. “Actually the site views increased March 15 to 22 and that is why I am working on revamping real quick to get more consistent content since everyone is home,” says Founder & Editor in Chief, Ese Ofurhie. “I am particularly looking for positive information, positive stories, recoveries of people and businesses during this time, things like that. To get the good news amongst all the negative and indecisiveness that we are being fed daily from television is so necessary in my opinion.”

Sesi Magazine we have seen a spike in our website stats over the past week, says Editor in Chief Andrea Butler. “We're accepting pitches for our Natural Hair Love issue (summer 2020 issue) right now. You can find all the details on our writer's guidelines page.”

“I wouldn't necessarily call it a "spike" but there was definitely a bump in traffic. People are cooped up at home so not only are they looking for coronavirus specific topics, but readers are also, in my opinion, looking at topics that offer an escape from all the pandemic content, says HipHopWired Managing Editor, Alvin Blanco. “A couple of our biggest stories were celebs who've tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA's Jamal Murray's unfortunate IG Story snafu.” 

“I don't have exact numbers this second, but we have seen a general traffic increase, says CEO and Managing Editor, Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur.  “We are definitely busier now than we were before. A lot more artists, PR agents, and people are now available that may not have been available previously.”

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“We’re definitely taking all pitches especially now that everyone’s home and driving the numbers on the site,” says Shamika Sanders, Entertainment editor at Interactive One’s Hellobeautiful. 

“We had no trouble transitioning to working remotely,” says PJ Thomas, Founder of Pathfinders Travel. “All of our writers work from home as well as our art director and line editor. As you know, the life of a writer is one of solitary. At times like these, that's a good thing.”

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