President Barack Obama, accompanied by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, drops by the African American Online Summit, October 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Present at the White House were 20 African Americans working on the Web, including representatives of theRoot.com, Black Entertainment Television, Essence, Jack & Jill Politics, City Limits, Concrete Loop, AOL Black Voices, Black America Web and even the gossipy MediaTakeOut. (Credit: White House.)
The first ever African American Online Summit gathered at the White House this week. Mainstream media did not cover the story and most folks found out about the meeting via cyberspace, which is precisely President Obama’s case and point about new media. Working to Broaden and Deepen Our Online Engagement Mainstream journalist reports what they want to promote and leave out information that is typically not mainstream off their lips. Clearly the select group of African American bloggers had an exciting experience by visiting the White House that will live in their memory forever. I wonder if this story will make mainstream media journalist and other bloggers jealous to get the opportunity to rub elbows in the Bush room? Is that why we have not heard anything whispered on the news about the first African American social media summit? I have heard folks look down on bloggers and bash bloggers efforts…..according to President Obama he had this to say about media.:
The media is changing so rapidly that websites, like you guys do every day, do two things. Number one, it allows us to reach audiences that may not be watching Meet The Press…I’m just saying, it might be a different demographic. But the second thing is obviously part of what is so powerful about the web, is that it’s not just a one-way conversation.
President Obama stopped by a “black online summit” at the White House Monday as part of an outreach to African American journalists and bloggers before the midterm elections, an effort that includes the Democratic National Committee spending what it calls an unprecedented $3 million to reach the most loyal part of Obama’s base, African American voters.
“I thought the meeting was great in that it showed that President Obama and his administration are taking black new media and our growing influence seriously,” David A. Wilson, managing editor of theGrio.com, told Journal-isms via e-mail.
“They outlined how the administration’s policies have had a positive effect on the African-American community and they invited us to make suggestions on how they could work better with us and provide us with more access to the White House.
The Democratic National Committee says the $3 million it will spend in advertising to reach African Americans could make the difference in such states as Pennsylvania, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Florida.”I also thought the summit provided a great opportunity for all of us leading the charge in [the] black new media movement to get together in a way that I haven’t seen since we started theGrio last year.”
However, Leutisha Stills, who blogs at Jack & Jill Politics, cautioned, “The summit was a good one and very comprehensive, but we made it known that if we really have ‘influence,’ we are going to test drive it and see how many more invites we get from the White House.”
The Columbus Day session lasted from 9:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett present along with specialists from various parts of the administration, including the first lady’s office. Among the 20 African Americans working on the Web were representatives of theRoot.com, Black Entertainment Television, Essence, Jack & Jill Politics, City Limits, Concrete Loop, AOL Black Voices, Black America Web and even the gossipy MediaTakeOut.
Monday’s session is to be followed Friday by a presidential meeting with 10 members of the Trotter Group of African American columnists. Moreover, six or seven African American bloggers were credentialed for Obama’s rally in Philadelphia last Sunday, although invitations were extended to about 20.
“As Obama has steadily increased his outreach to African American voters over the past month, with interviews and campaign stops targeted at the black community — ‘our community,‘ as the president likes to say — he has sent a clear signal that this election is about him and his record,” Carol E. Lee and Abby Phillip wrote for Politico.
Derrick L. Plummer, regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, told Journal-isms via e-mail, “Between now and Nov. 2nd the Democratic Party and the President will continue to speak with and engage the African American community about why this election [is] so important and the clear choice we face.”
Referring to Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Plummer said, “Chairman Kaine will continue to speak with AfAm media print, online national radio outlets/hosts.”
Obama has appeared on six or seven radio shows that target African Americans, including those hosted by Warren Ballentine, Russ Parr, Doug Parks, Joe Madison and Tom Joyner.
“The DNC’s $3 million AfAm paid advertising investment in a midterm election is unprecedented. In addition to AfAm paid advertising, we’ll make a significant investment in Latino advertising and continue our contributions to coordinated campaigns in every key state — most of the work of which is devoted to base voters,” Plummer said.
“In addition, the DNC this morning started running a radio ad nationally and regionally featuring civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery in which he calls upon young people of all ages to vote because in ’2008 we changed the guard…this year, we must guard the change.’
“Since Labor Day the DNC has been running radio and/or print and online advertising — the earliest we have ever done so — and will continue to run ads through Election Day.
“Because of record fundraising the DNC, is looking into the possibility of television advertisements as well.”
Kevin S. Lewis, director, African American media for the White House, told Journal-isms via e-mail, “The online summit provided a space for an in-depth, off-the-record dialogue with new media professionals on how the Obama Administration is approaching pressing issues like jobs, the economy, health care, education, and community investment, through the ‘New Foundation’ platform. The summit also served as a space to discuss how we can build on our efforts to further engage the online community.”
It was Lewis’ first official day on the job. Lewis, 27, was a press assistant in the White House press office and worked in that role during the presidential campaign. He succeeds Corey A. Ealons, who joined a Washington public relations firm last month.
“Everything that was said was either on background or totally off the record, so I can’t reveal as much as I’d like,” Cord Jefferson, a writer with theRoot.com, told Journal-isms, “but I think it was quite productive. In my estimation, any time the media sits down and talks with an administration — as long as neither side is guaranteeing anything to the other — is time well spent.
“I’ll also say that just bringing together black web outlets to the White House, just sitting them down and saying, ‘We respect your mission,’ is a huge step. We met President Obama today. It’s difficult to imagine a black web summit even taking place in the Bush White House, let alone a black web summit that would have seen President Bush stop by. It’s not like we saw any major reforms take place in that room today, but we did see progress.”
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: What’s Dumb, Really?
- Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News: Obama could lose a little of his cool: Seriously, why are Lil Wayne and Jay Z on President’s iPod?
- Merlene Davis, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: Churches take the lead in voter education
- Jarvis DeBerry, New Orleans Times-Picayune: Voting your values? Do you know what they are?
- Joel Dreyfuss, theRoot.com: Obama Reaches Out to African-American Voters
- Bob Herbert, New York Times: The Campaign Disconnect
- Carol E. Lee and Abby Phillip, Politico: With black voters, Barack Obama gets personal
- Stephen Miller, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Report finds little FOIA improvement under Obama
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Commission should clear up Wall Street meltdown
- Edward Schumacher-Matos, Miami Herald: ‘Obamacare’ wrong choice for headline
- Leutisha Stills (“The Christian Progressive Liberal”), Jack & Jill Politics: African-American Online Summit at the White House
- Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Obamacare does not violate the US Constitution
- Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Voters dislike “government,” like what it does
- Devona Walker, TheLoop21: Has the Obama backlash fueled more workplace discrimination?
Here’s a list of everyone who attended today’s session (and thanks to all of you for taking the time to make it!):
- Aminah Hanan, Blogging While Brown
- Angel Laws, Concrete Loop
- Barion Grant, theGrio
- Claudio Cabrera, NewsOne
- Cord Jefferson, The Root
- Darrell Williams, Ph.D., theLoop21.com
- David Wilson, theGrio
- Deborah Bennett, HelloBeautiful
- Denmark West, BET Networks
- Fred Mwangaguhunga, MediaTakeOut
- Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com
- Jeffery Holley, Concrete Loop
- Jeneba Ghatt, Black Web Media
- Jody Vaughn, BET Networks
- Keli Goff, theLoop21.com
- Leutisha Stills, Jack & Jill Politics
- Mario Armstrong, Black Web Media
- Mark Thomas, City Limits
- Michael Skolnick, Global Grind
- Natasha Eubanks, The YBF (Young, Black & Fabulous)
- Ron Worthy, BlackPeopleMeet
- Wendy WIlson, ESSENCE
This list is from the White House article below:
- Working to Broaden and Deepen Our Online Engagement (whitehouse.gov)
- Please make a $3 donation now to be automatically entered to win a trip to be at my side at the rally in Vegas.
- What Health Reform Means for African Americans (whitehouse.gov)