As a regular viewer of NBC Nightly News’ podcast on iTunes, I wasn’t expecting to see the story of Dale Long, a Dallas, Texas man who has been mentoring young men for as long as I have been living.
Tonight, NBC Correspondent Ron Mott told his story in the latest installment of NBC’s multi-platform commitment to telling stories of African American making history NOW, a collaborative effort with the African-American targeted Web site, The GRIO
As we saw in tonight’s story, A-Phi-A’s Barbershop Mentoring Initiative reaches beyond the men of the black and gold. In the story, you saw those from other historically black fraternities also stepping up to be mentors.
The idea of mentoring is not unique. But, the national commitment made by A-Phi-A along with Big Brothers Big Sisters and other groups such 100 Black Men of America, an organization to which I belong, is rarely depicted in such a positive way on network television news.
The Power of the Storyteller
But, this particular news story was about more than just the initiative that Dale Long was doing. It was also about the storyteller.
You see, the reporter, Ron Mott, an African American himself, was serving as a role model for other African American men who are watching the news and may believe they too can tell stories like Dale Long’s.
As has been reported elsewhere online, Mott made a name for himself in much of his Post-Hurricane Katrina reporting for the nation’s top news network.
Covering NBC’s Southeast bureau, he followed in the footsteps of Fredericka Whitfield (a fellow Howard alumnus I might, add) who moved over to CNN a decade ago.
Tale of Two Rons
While I’ve never met Ron, his reporting reminds me a lot of another African American male reporter at NBC, Ron Allen. Their voices even sound alike.
Lately, you see Ron Allen filing stories from overseas. Most recently, he was behind the nightly (and morning) coverage of the unrest in Egypt. This freeze frame from MSNBC shows one of his updates earlier this month.
My point in mentioning NBC’s two Rons is to highlight the network has shown the role models about which many have been talking for years– as representative of ALL Of America when it comes to those in the audience for many of these news programs.
At NBC, Lester Holt, another African American man would be another example.
But, tonight’s story about the work of one African American man and his historically black fraternity told by another African American man shows the power of both story and storyteller to reflect CHANGE that has been a long time coming at the top levels of broadcast news industry.
We won’t even mention who might be happen behind the scenes in the effort to diversify our media presentation of reality.
GRIO- NBC effort: Round 2
The fact is– there are a number of African American journalists and my fellow media workers among the 2011 installment of GRIO 100, a cross-platform effort by NBC News, and other on-air networks along with his sister niche Web site, The GRIO (all soon-to-be Comcast subsidiaries).
Mark Luckie, the author The Digital Journalist’s Handbook (a textbook we use in our multimedia classes here at Alabama) is also among them. Luckie (seen at the right) is now on staff at The Washington Post as their innovations editor.
Bill Burton, the first African-American to hold a senior-level position in the White House’s press office is also featured in GRIO 100.
Like President Obama, Burton is the son of a black father and white mother.
The 2010 list is still online. They are fascinating stories worth further study and stand as a shining example of diversity in media portrayals.