Black Journalists Are Needed Now More Than Ever

Recent layoffs at newspapers nationwide remind us why Black journalists are needed to report truth. (The Los Angeles Times building. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

by Nadira Jamerson

At Word In Black, we take pride in being a trusted news source for, about and by Black people. Mainstream news outlets don’t always report — or report accurately — on what happens in our communities. With staff cuts decimating newsrooms nationwide, accurate representation in reporting seems increasingly unlikely.

Sports Illustrated, Pitchfork, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, TIME, and Business Insider all announced major layoffs this week. Reports are coming in that many of the folks laid off were Black.

“It just hit me today that LAT laid off every single Black person in its Washington Bureau,” one X user wrote about the LA Times layoffs. 

As another X user explained, “The amount of journalists of color who are losing their jobs just a few short years after newsrooms worldwide made commitments to better reflect the communities we cover. Journalists, who without them, coverage will lack proper nuance and inhibit community trust.”

These layoffs come at a critical time, particularly in a presidential election year like 2024, when access to reliable reporting is essential for people to stay informed on issues and policies impacting their communities. Fewer than 5% of editorial jobs in the U.S. news business are held by Black people, and less than 1% of editors and supervisors are Black. With Black Americans more likely to be targeted by disinformation and misinformation, the recent loss of Black journalists able to report the truth does not bode well for Black voters. 

What can we do about it? Share trusted news sources with your friends and family and support your local papers to ensure they can grow instead of closing down. And know that we are still here confronting inequities, elevating solutions, and amplifying the Black experience.