U.K.’s Positive.News Publishes Good Black News Feature – “Black News Matters: the Website Dedicated to Positive News about People of Color”

Good Black News Founder and Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson (photo: Atsushi Nishijima)

interview by Lucy Purdy via positive.news

Lori Lakin Hutcherson was shocked when she was unable to find a website dedicated to positive news about black people. So she started one 

Why did you start the Facebook page that became the website, Good Black News?

I actually started Good Black News by accident. It was 2010 and, in my work as a film and television writer and producer, I was collaborating with author Terry McMillan on the film adaptation of her new book. Before our writing session started one morning, she was telling me about a story she’d barely come across in the news: at an all-black academy in Chicago, 100 per cent of the seniors were accepted to college. Terry was wondering why there was no major news media coverage of this great achievement, and lamenting that the mainstream media primarily focused on negative news about African Americans. I figured that there must be a site dedicated solely to positive African American news, so searched the internet. To my shock, I couldn’t find one. In that moment I decided I had to create it, even if just a page on Facebook. So I did. And it slowly grew from there.

How do you think the mainstream media is biased towards people of colour? What damage can stereotypes do?

The media bias reflects the bias intrinsic in US culture and society. People of colour are often seen as threats or exceptions, but not commonly enough as typical human beings. More often than not, you’ll see adjectives or nouns that refer to someone’s ethnicity or skin colour rather than their name or age, or you will see images that are dour or intense instead of happy or light. The damage these micro-dehumanisations can do is reinforce prejudices about people of colour, as well as teach and perpetuate them. So every time I put up a positive story, I am conscious that I am combatting all of that, as well as offering a bit of uplift for anyone who comes across it.

What steps do you take with your stories; for example with headlines and photos, to make them more representative and balanced?

First of all, I make sure that they are accurate and informative, and properly credited and sourced. Secondly, I like to find the best image possible to represent the person or the subject of the story; if all anyone sees is the photo or the headline, I want to make sure either or both offer a story, as well as positive impact. Lastly, I like to put names in headlines. A person’s name offers individuality and acknowledgement that I think impresses on readers a level of humanity that descriptors just don’t. It may seem subtle, but to me, it’s not. Imagine, for example, the differing impact of The Autobiography of a Black Muslim v The Autobiography of Malcolm X or The Diary of a Jewish Girl v The Diary of Anne Frank.

What reactions have you had to Good Black News? Have any surprised you?

The majority have been positive, which isn’t surprising as much as it is heartwarming. It’s humbling knowing that what myself, my fellow editor Lesa Lakin and our volunteer contributors do is helping so many people access information and stories they might not otherwise have heard of. What has surprised me – even though, thankfully, it’s not a large number – is that there are people who spend their time trying to troll and mock and denigrate a site dedicated to sharing positive stories about people of colour. Each time I come across a wayward comment, reply or tweet and block it, I think ‘Who has time for this kind of vitriol in their life?

People of colour are often seen as threats or exceptions, but not commonly enough as typical human beings

Which sorts of stories are most popular?

Education stories. Whether it’s a boy or girl genius graduating college at 14, or a formerly homeless teen going to the Ivy League, or senior citizens finally getting their high school or college diplomas, education stories are always popular. Education has been the most accessible and democratic way people of colour have been able to improve their lives in the US. To go from it being a crime to learn to read and write, to earning PhDs and running universities – yeah, those stories always resonate.

To read rest of article, go to: Black news matters: the website dedicated to positive news about people of colour

Seven Years Ago Today: Good Black News Was Founded

(Image by Maeve Richardson)


GOOD BLACK NEWS
 proudly celebrates its seventh anniversary today, with our followers across FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestInstagramGoogle+YouTubeWordPress, our RSS feed, and LinkedIn. Although initially launched on March 18, 2010 as a Facebook page (read the detailed story behind GBN’s creation here), in September 2012, GBN created this dedicated website, goodblacknews.org, which has allowed us to expand our presence on the internet and provide archives and search functions to you, our loyal readers.

In the past year, we were greatly honored to not only have our Editorial “What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege” republished on The Huffington Post, On Being (we made their “Best of 2016” list), Everyday Feminism, and Quartz, but also to see so much thoughtful dialogue spark around the topic.

And as of last week, we are proud to share that because of the existence of Good Black News, Founder and Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson is featured in (and earned the international cover of) Australian quarterly Dumbo Feather.

(photo by Atsushi Nishijima)

The outpour of appreciation you’ve shown us via likes, comments, shares, reblogs and e-mails means the world to us, and only inspires GBN to keep getting bigger and better and create more original content.

Good Black News remains a labor of love for our Founder/Editor-In-Chief (Lori) and Lifestyle Editor (Lesa Lakin), and we must gratefully acknowledge this year’s contributors: Rebecca Carpenter, Susan CartsonisJulie Bibb Davis, Alyss Dixson, Dan Evans, Gina Fattore, Eric Greene, Thaddeus Grimes-GruczkaAshanti Hutcherson, Warren Hutcherson, Brenda Lakin, Joyce Lakin, Ray Lancon, John Levinson, Jason Lief, Neeta McCulloch, Hanelle Culpepper Meier, Jeff Meier, Catherine Metcalf, Minsun Park, Tajamika PaxtonPatrick-Ian PolkFlynn Richardson, Rosanna Rossetto, Gabriel RyderTerry Samwick, Becky Schonbrun, Susan ShafferCallie TeitelbaumTeddy TenenbaumArro Verse, and Joshua A.S. Young. You are all deeply, greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Maeve Richardson for re-conceiving and redesigning all the GBN logos and banners across social media.

Please continue to help us spread GBN by sharing, liking, re-tweeting and commenting, and consider joining our e-mail list via our “Contact Us” tab on goodblacknews.org. We will only use this list to keep you updated on GBN and send you our upcoming e-newsletter (fingers crossed!) — nothing else. And, of course, you may opt out at any time.

GBN believes in bringing you positive news, reviews and stories of interest about black people all over the world, and greatly value your participation in continuing to build our shared vision.

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to providing you with more Good Black News in the coming year, and beyond!

Warmly,

The Good Black News Team

Lori Lakin Hutcherson (l) and Lesa Lakin (r), GBN Editors

Three Years Ago Today: Good Black News was Founded

gbnthumbnail.jpegGOOD BLACK NEWS proudly celebrates its third anniversary today, with 4,367 Facebook followers, 2,803 Twitter followers and scores more via Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.  Last September, GBN launched a dedicated website, goodblacknews.org, which allowed us to expand our presence on the internet beyond Facebook (we are also on YouTube and LinkedIn) and provide archives and search functions to you, our loyal readers.  

The outpour of appreciation you’ve shown us via comments and e-mails means the world to us, and only inspires GBN to keep getting better.  In the coming months, we aim to refresh and revise the look of goodblacknews.org to improve mobile access, provide more original content, and (if you sign up for it) a downloadable e-newsletter featuring GBN’s Top Stories of the Week. 

Please keep helping us spread GBN by sharing, liking, re-tweeting and commenting, and consider joining our e-mail list via our Contact Us tab on goodblacknews.org.  We will only use this list to keep you updated on GBN and send you our e-newsletter — nothing else.  And, of course, you may opt out at any time.

GBN remains a labor of love, and our Founder/Editor-In-Chief (Lori Lakin Hutcherson) and staff are all unpaid volunteers.  We believe in bringing you positive news, reviews and stories of interest about black people all over the world, and greatly value your participation in continuing to build our shared vision.

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to providing you with more Good Black News in the coming year, and beyond!

Warmly,

The Good Black News Team