Black Americans Give Split Decision On Their Media Coverage: Study

More proof has emerged that Black Americans are not totally pleased with their news coverage. But they feel media are doing a better job of hiring Black reporters and anchors. 

Of Black readers polled, 48% say the news media does a poor or average job portraying the Black community, Horowitz Research reports in FOCUS Black: State of Media, Entertainment & Tech: Consumer Engagement 2023, a study released Tuesday. 

Drilling down, 38% feel the media are doing a good job of portraying the Black community. But 34% say they are doing a poor one, while 14% say it is average and 14% that they don’t know. 

At the same time, 40% feel the media does a good job of portraying communities of color, and 30% say it is bad.

But the media get higher marks for diversity in anchors and journalists in general: 47% say the performance is good, and 17% that it is average. Only 21% claim it is poor, and 15% do not know.  



In addition, 46% believe the media are doing well with the number of Black reporters, and 16% that it is an average job. And 23% say it is poor, while 10% do not know.  

Importantly for advertisers, 69% of Black Americans say their perception of brands improves when ads include diverse people, lifestyles, and cultures. And 60% say their buying decisions are swayed when brands support Black-owned and/or Black-targeted media. 

Six in 10 (60%) Black consumers say that when brands support Black owned and/or Black-targeted media, it has a positive impact on their buying decisions.

“Representation has always been important for Black audiences from an inclusion standpoint,” says Adriana Waterston, executive vice president and insights & strategy lead for Horowitz Research, a division of M/A/R/C Research.  

Waterston adds, “Now that the news media has become so polarized and the negative impact of what news brands say and show about different communities has become so evident, consumers are demanding that the news media be accountable for how it represents Black Americans, as well how it represents people from other marginalized communities.” 

Last month, Pew Research Center released a study showing that 63% of Black readers say news about Black people is often more negative than it is about other groups. Moreover, 57% feel the news only covers certain segments within Black communities. 

Horowitz Research surveyed 555 Black adults in August 2023.


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