When it came to the midterms, mainstream white pundits got a lot wrong that local, Black, Brown and BIPOC media got right, and they’re still missing many important stories. That’s the message from this roundtable of journalists we call Meet the BIPOC Press, a monthly feature of the Laura Flanders Show. What do the money media’s hits and misses tell us about what journalists need to be doing better — or differently — in the weeks and months ahead? For this conversation, Laura is joined by S. Mitra Kalita, the publisher of Epicenter-NYC and co-founder of URL Media, a network of Black and Brown community news outlets that partners with the Laura Flanders Show every month; Habib Rahman, the cofounder of TBN24, the first Bangladeshi 24/7 live television channel in the US, and Stephanie Williams, the executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News serving Southern California. How did their outlets meet the needs of their constituents and voters? Some of the answers are pretty surprising.
“Mainstream media is covering misinformation and they’re covering the polls. They’re not really covering abortion, climate change, your garbage pickup, your kid’s PTA.” – S. Mitra Kalita
“We have a small network, TBN24. Compared to MSNBC or CNN or Fox we are minute, but they don’t understand the power of local journalism, local stations and the influence that we have on the local people.” – Habib Rahman
“Looking within our communities we should be reading the pulse of what’s happening there, and if it’s contrary to the polls, we should use our voices and speak up and say, that’s not what we’re seeing in my community, regardless of what the polls say.” – Stephanie Williams
- S. Mitra Kalita: Co-Founder, URL Media; CEO & Publisher, Epicenter-NYC
- Habib Rahman: Co-Founder, TBN24, Bangladeshi Global Digital TV
- Stephanie Williams: Executive Editor, IE Voice & Black Voice News
Portions of this interview are featured in our episode “BIPOC Media Covered the Elections Differently.”