Nation's Black Opinion Writers Meet in Louisville

by ekramer on April 19, 2010

A group of African-American columnists from across the country are meeting at the University of Louisville this week. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

An organization of black columnists, opinion writers and bloggers called The Trotter Group meets Monday and Tuesday with a public forum Monday evening. Its title is The Obama Presidency — What’s Race Got to Do with It?

Panelists include journalist Rochelle Riley, a columnist from the Detroit Free Press who wrote for The Courier-Journal during the 1990s.

“I hope that we talk once and for all about the fact that the American President is the American President and different groups who have different cultural and demographic issues that they would like to bring on behalf of their people are absolutely supposed to ask for those,” she says. “And the president is absolutely supposed to treat all Americans the same.”

The Trotter Group was named for editor and activist William Monroe Trotter.

Author and University of Louisville professor Ricky Jones is participating in the conference and says the schedule features serious journalistic dialogue about current issues like health care.

“It’s about the perspective on those topics, especially when you look at America’s progress along matters of race at this moment in American history,” he says. “I think the Trotter Group will bring a little bit different approach then you’re going to get on CNN, MSNBS or Fox.”

Riley says the work of the Trotter Group in the realm of opinion journalism and discussing the topic in general are more important than ever.

“When you’ve got people who are revolutionized and revitalized, but it’s based on false information, then that makes a journalist’s job even harder,” she says. “So, I’m hoping we can make sure the people know the difference between journalism and the fourth estate, which is a part of our constitution, and entertainment and conversation.”

Other speakers at the meeting include former Newsday editor and Pulitzer Prize recipient Les Payne and New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden.

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