Dale Long, Ron Mott Reflect Media Change Worth Watching

The February 23, 2011 story of Dale Long as reported by NBC News’ Ron Mott as part of the second year of THE GRIO 100, represented progress in the effort to diversity both media images and the conveyors/producers of those images.

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.

Grio.com Photo of Dale Long, featured as one THE GRIO 100

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

You have to see the story of Dale Long and his fraternity brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. who have embarked on an ambitious effort to recruit Big Brothers for 7,000 young men.

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.

NBC Correspondent Ron Mott Joined NBC News in May of 2005, a few months before he was cast into a major role reporting on Hurricane Katrina

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.

This is the second year that NBC and THEGRIO have done this project.

The 2010 list is still online.   They are fascinating stories worth further study and stand as a shining example of diversity in media portrayals.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

One thought on “Dale Long, Ron Mott Reflect Media Change Worth Watching”

  1. In order to be men our boys must see men! There is a little who is waiting on YOU. Volunteer to become Big Brothers.
    O h, by the way, I grew up in Birmingham.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s