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State of the Media: Herbert L. White
In the third piece of our series, Charlotte Post Editor Herbert L. White talks with Y'all Weekly about the media landscape in Charlotte
Editor’s Note: Y’all Weekly is sharing the third piece in our “State of the Media” series so you can know more about the people behind the stories, and what they think about the local media landscape in Charlotte. Herbert L. “Herb” White is the longtime Editor-in-Chief of the Charlotte Post, which has served as a dominant force in educating, empowering and enlightening African American communities in Charlotte, North Carolina, and upstate South Carolina from a Black perspective since its founding in 1878.
Herbert L. White
The Charlotte Post, Time Magazine, Our State Magazine, The Charlotte Observer, Wilmington Star News, Iredell County News
The Y’all Weekly Media Survey
Questions and Answers below are unedited. Every journalist was provided the same 10 questions and could choose to exclude any, within reason.
Y’all Weekly: Broadly speaking, what is the state of local media in Charlotte?
Herb White: Charlotte’s media ecosystem is crowded, but hardly dominated by one print or broadcast outlet. It’s a long way from where it was 20 years ago where staffs and advertising revenue were larger. I hear a lot of that from colleagues who were here during that time or before.
YW: If you have to get up to speed on a topic quickly, where are you most likely to look?
HW: Depends on where the subject originates. If it’s local or has a local hook, I look locally; if it’s national, I go to the appropriate sources.
YW: What do you think makes a story newsworthy?
HW: A story needs to have impact on a community and how people live/work/play or look at the world, to be newsworthy.
YW: Is Charlotte and North Carolina's media landscape diverse enough to report on our community?
HW: Charlotte is becoming more diverse as a media market, but North Carolina is falling behind, especially in covering rural areas and historically underrepresented/marginalized communities. There are more have-nots outside of Charlotte and the Triangle.
YW: What stories aren't being told in Charlotte right now?
HW: Too little on immigration, especially going beyond the stereotype of “Mexicans” coming across the border.
YW: If someone just moved to Charlotte and North Carolina, and wants to be an informed voter and savvy media consumer, what should they read/listen to/watch?
HW: Local daily and ethnic publications. Print media still has the most in-depth and smartest reporting by volume. After that, public radio.
YW: How does social media factor into the way you report?
HW: Social media is a tool to learn about what people are sharing in terms of information. No more, or less than that.
YW: If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the regional media landscape, what would it be?
HW: More personnel and money to pay them.
YW: Is the Charlotte Observer still the "paper of record" for Charlotte? Do we have a gold standard for journalism any longer?
HW: It’s a misnomer to declare a “paper of record" because no media can be everything to everybody. There’s a gold standard – but who can assemble the staffing levels these days to achieve it?
YW: Finally, what questions aren't we asking?
HW: What does history tell us about our situation as a community and culture? How it can be leveraged to help us us understand and contrast past and present? Also: why are media so fixated on fluff to engage audiences?
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