Tuesday, October 25, 2011

University of Pittsburg Conference on the Black Male

The news media’s depictions of Black males can have a profound effect on readers and viewers. How Black men are portrayed can often reinforce stereotypes, which can lead to negative perceptions and result in racial bias in everything from court decisions to policymaking.

A group of scholars, experts, and news media executives will discuss these issues at a one-day summit at the University of Pittsburgh Nov. 1 titled “Evolving the Image of the African American Male in American Media.” The by-invitation-only event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the second-floor Ballroom B of Pitt’s University Club, 123 University Place, Oakland. The summit, presented by Pitt’s Office of Public Affairs, is made possible by a grant from the Heinz Endowments.

8:45 a.m. Opening Remarks and Introduction of the Keynote Speaker

Robert Hill, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

Keynote Address

Marc Lamont Hill, associate professor of English education at Teachers College of Columbia University, host of the nationally syndicated TV show Our World With Black Enterprise, and regular commentator for CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

9:30 a.m. Imagery in the News

A discussion of the power of major news media to shape opinions and the problems that result from unbalanced news coverage.

Travis Dixon, professor of communications, UCLA;
Robert Entman, J.B. and M.C. Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University; and
Paul Hitlin, senior researcher, Pew Research Center.

Moderator: Paula Poindexter, vice president, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and associate professor of journalism and graduate advisor, University of Texas at Austin.

10:30 a.m. A Conversation Among Young African American Males

Seven teenage and young adult Black males will discuss their perceptions of the news media as well as how their communities are depicted.

Amani Davis, senior at Winchester Thurston High School, Pittsburgh;
Antoine Allen, freshman at Syracuse University;
Ashton Gibbs, senior student athlete, University of Pittsburgh;
Tosen Nwadei, sophomore, University of Pittsburgh;
Raymont Hopkins, Pittsburgh youth who attended Pittsburgh Carrick High School;
Jasiri X, Pittsburgh-based entertainer; and
Jay Oriola, senior, University of Pittsburgh.

Moderator: Chris Moore, producer and host of WQED Horizons.

Noon : Luncheon Speaker

Larry E. Davis, dean of the School of Social Work, Donald M. Henderson Professor, and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems at Pitt, will address the psychological impact on Black men of negative stereotypes promulgated by the media.

1:30 p.m. A Conversation Among Black Media Executives

Executives from traditionally African American-focused news outlets will discuss the role of the “Black Press” in the 21st century.

Tene’ Croom, former news director, American Urban Radio Network;
Rod Doss, editor and publisher, New Pittsburgh Courier;
Pamela Newkirk, professor of journalism, New York University; and
John B. Smith, publisher, Atlanta Inquirer.

Moderator: George E. Curry, president and CEO, George Curry Media, LLC, and former editor-in-chief, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) News Service.

2:30 p.m. A Conversation Among News Decision Makers

Panelists will reveal how decisions are made in the coverage of the African American community, providing an insider’s view into how race and race-based issues are discussed and managed at major news outlets.

Shirley Carswell, deputy managing editor, The Washington Post;
James N. Crutchfield, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism and Multimedia Arts, Duquesne University, and former president and publisher, Akron Beacon Journal;
Rick Henry, former president, WTAE-TV; and
David Shribman, executive editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Moderator: Lorraine Branham, dean, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University.

4 p.m. Town Hall Meeting

This session, moderated by Robert Hill, is designed for open feedback and discussion. A representative from each of the panels will engage with the audience about topics discussed during the day and answer questions.

5 p.m. Concluding Remarks

Ervin E. Dyer, senior editor, PITT Magazine, and former news reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

About the Heinz Endowments: The Heinz Endowments was formed from the Howard Heinz Endowment, established in 1941, and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, established in 1986. Its vision is for Southwestern Pennsylvania to prosper as a premier place to both live and work, as a center for learning and educational excellence, and as a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.

The foundation’s mission is to help the region thrive as a whole community—economically, ecologically, educationally, and culturally—while advancing the state of knowledge and practice in the fields in which people work. Its fields of emphasis include philanthropy in general and the disciplines represented by its five grant-making programs: Arts & Culture; Children, Youth & Families; Education; Environment; and Innovation Economy.

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