Hey Mashable – How About Adding Some Color To Your Media Summit?

By Benet J. Wilson, chair, National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force and independent multimedia journalist

I am a big fan of Mashable.  I have it in a high spot on my Google Reader, and I also have the app on my iPhone.  I appreciate how they keep me up to date on all things social and digital media.  But I have a bone to pick.

Mashable is holding its annual Media Summit in New York City on Nov. 4.  The event has become one of the hot conference tickets in the social/new media realm.  But there’s a problem.  When you look at the list of speakers, there’s no people of color on the agenda — not one.  And I have a problem with that, since this is an issue that has come up again and again in the past few years.

Did you not read my blog post on the lack of diversity at last December’s News Foo invitation-only event at Arizona State University spurred by a post by NABJ member and ASU professor Retha Hill on the event? Did you not check out a PBS MediaShift Twitter chat in January asking if people of color are missing at new media conferences?

Mashable, how could you miss this spreadsheet created by Star-Tribune multimedia journalist (and Asian American Journalist Association member) Emma Carew and curated by other journalists of color (including me) listing journalists of color that are doing amazing things in the new media space and want to talk about it?  And here’s my blog post explaining the project.

And if that weren’t enough, check out this great panel discussion on the diversity in new media held at last month’s Online News Association annual convention.  The panel was moderated by Retha Hill and ANY of her speakers — including Joel Dreyfus, managing editor of TheRoot.com AND a founder of NABJ — could more than hold their own at your Media Summit, Mashable.

And Mashable, why didn’t you look in-house and tap the talents of Jessica Fay Carter, who has blogged for you on…wait for it…new media/social media diversity issues.  She is the CEO of Heta Corporation, an advisory firm that helps companies use social technologies to engage women and multicultural groups—as consumers and employees.  She is also the founder of Black Social Media Professionals.

As an online publication that has its finger on the pulse of all things new media, I find it really hard to believe that you either couldn’t find people of color or just decided not to include them.  Either way, it’s a bad call.  I’ll help you out and give you 10 names off the top of my head (outside of the ones already mentioned in this blog) that would be assets to your summit.  I hope you take me up on adding them or others.

  1. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, LocallyGrownNews.com & professor at Elon University;
  2. Bruce Koon, news director at KQED;
  3. Sam Diaz, a Silicon Valley-based freelance writer, ghost writer and communications consultant;
  4. Dagny Salas, web editor for Voice of San Diego;
  5. Dori Maynard, president The Maynard Institute;
  6. Elise Hu, NPR’s digital coordinator of the StateImpact initiative;
  7. Mark Luckie, National Innovations Editor at the Washington Post and author of “The Digital Journalists’ Handbook”
  8. Robert Hernandez, professor at USC/Annenberg;
  9. Shawn Williams, president, Dallas South News; and
  10. Sree Sreenivasan dean of student affairs & professor at Columbia Journalism School, contributing editor, DNAinfo.com and
    co-founder, south asian journalists association.
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