AU Association of Black Journalists launches the Blackprint
Co-editor Elisha Brown said the online publication will be used to promote discussions of social issues and campus concerns
School of Communication seniors Elisha Brown and Taryn Daniels identify as students, journalists and writers. But on Sept. 7, after they helped launch The Blackprint, an online publication connected to the American University Association of Black Journalists, they accepted two new titles: editors and change-makers.
The Blackprint, a publication dedicated to addressing the concerns of people of color on a campus that has made national news for racial insensitivity, will operate as an extension of AUABJ, but Brown said she and her executive board will be actively recruiting new writers this fall. She stressed that while The Blackprint will focus on social issues and campus leaders of color, the publication will be inclusive, encouraging those from any background to write and become involved.
Brown said she hopes the publication will help people understand a new perspective and the importance of the issues facing different groups of people. Despite being encouraged by some of the discussions occurring in and out of the classroom, Brown believes that some marginalized groups still feel isolated on campus. In order to improve campus culture, she is pushing for more conversations among students, even those that may be challenging.
“I think people need to feel uncomfortable and set aside their inherent values and beliefs, and just talk to someone who isn’t in their friend group,” Brown said. “I think people should try to step outside of themselves, and just listen to people that they wouldn’t necessarily listen to, or you know go to an event that’s about race and identity and things like that.”
Brown said that, as a club, AUABJ had been discussing the value of a publication like The Blackprint, but the development and launching of the project struggled.
“We had been talking about the need for a publication,” Brown said. “We wanted to start one because we are journalists, but we also, just looking at the climate over the past years and seeing how people of color voice their opinions and their grievances with the University, just really thought it would be great to have a space, a positive space, besides say a Facebook post, to say something about injustice or racial injustice and other things that happen on campus.”
The Blackprint owes much of its beginning to a third journalist, recent graduate Brianna Williams, the founder and president of the Association of Black Journalists.
Williams said she started the AUABJ in the spring of 2014 with the hopes of building a community, promoting opportunities for aspiring journalists and bringing together alumni and students. She wanted to inspire others, generate interest and start a conversation. Now Williams said she sees her legacy, work and passion at AU in the form of new student leaders and AUABJ’s publication, The Blackprint.
Williams has been following the promotion of The Blackprint on social media, and said she looks forward to watching Brown and Daniels bring together different voices on campus to share the news.
Previous attempts to launch a publication never worked out and had a hard time getting off the ground, Williams said, so she’s proud of the effort that Brown and Daniels have made to bring The Blackprint to life. Ultimately, Williams said she hopes that the publication helps raise awareness about issues that affect the campus community.
“I hope that it can tell the stories that need to be told for people who can’t tell their own stories, the stories that don’t get the recognition that they need to,” Williams said when asked about what she hopes to see from The Blackprint. “I hope that they are able to do that whether in print or social media, I hope that they are able to get the unheard voices heard.”