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A3C Panel Recap: Discussing  the Future of Hip Hop Journalism

Jerel Marshall
Posted by Jerel Marshall on Oct 10


ellmatik for A3C Media Services

Some heavy hitters in hip-hop media gathered to discuss the future of journalism in a panel moderated by Lauren Martinez this Friday at the A3C Conference and Festival.

The impact of technology on music is an often discussed, especially in hip-hop. The same technology trends that have changed the way artists create, distribute and market music has also had a major impact on the way the professionals who cover hip-hop go about their work.
Julia Beverly, Maurice Garland, Vanessa Satten and Rodney Carmichael discussed some of the ways their jobs have evolved. Here are some of the most interesting quotes of the day.

Maurice Garland - Journalist/Radio and TV Host - HipHopWired.com MauriceGarland.com
I don’t even like social media but it’s like mandatory now. Now you have to tell the 360 degree angle of a story. Back in the day you wrote something. It got published. People read or not. Now it’s a whole gamut of things. If you publish something, then you gotta tweet it. Then you gotta put it on Facebook. If you are there you have to Snapchat the sh*t. Pretty much everything you just named I wasn’t doing five years ago. Now folks are like “photos or didn’t happen, bruh!”

Some people might be interested in one specific thing and if they are very are good at what they are doing. It leveled the playing field for readers because they get to choose they like.

Julia Beverly- Journalist/Author/Editor - Ozone Magazine, Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story
It’s definitely amazing how things have changed. I like to think that I’m not that old but when it think back, when we first started distributing Ozone and we would take it city to city, we had index cards with the maps drawn on them to get to the drop spot. So even just stuff like GPS is something that we sometimes take for granted. We didn’t have that before.

I think someone who is a journalist is going to curate content in any format that they have access too--so even Twitter and Instagram. So right now I’ve been on a bicycle for 41 days. I just rode from San Francisco to Austin. I flew here and then I fly back to Texas to finish. Even with that I’m kind of a journalist because I’m posting pictures and videos everyday.

When I started there wasn’t a lot of information about these artists. You would hear a hot song and know nothing about the artists. So you would have to seek out information about them. Now it’s kind of the opposite because the artists post themselves taking a shower. We know too much about them. Someone who is a journalist can filter out all of the important stuff and tell you “hey, this what you need to know.”

Vanessa Satten- XXL Editor-in-Chief
I think you gotta establish what journalism is. So there is blogging, there is journalism, there is reporting. But there are a lot of people who go online and think that when they write their diary entry like stories that that’s journalism because “I like this and I like that.” I think you have to understand that journalism comes from the root of who, what, when, where, why and how. And being able to report on the story and remove yourself from the story. That’s what the essence of journalism is.

Who, what, when, where, why and how. Technology allowed for blogging to exist. There is a difference. It enabled people who might be true journalists to take that title.
Think about how
The value of print exists in that people still have ego. They want to see them on the cover . Hip-hop journalism used to be niche.

Rodney Carmichael - Journalist/Editor - Creative Loafing
It’s kind of funny to listen to Vanessa describe that. It made me think about how we always talk about how technology has leveled the playing field on the artists side. Now anybody can be a rapper because they have the ability to go over to a laptop and push a button and record themselves.

It does kind of give you something to think about in terms of what kind of writer you want t o be because there are plenty of people who are aimed at targeting a blog market. That’s what they want to do. That’s their goal. But I definitely think the same way that we talk about certain qualities that once defined hip-hop are kind of shaky now once certain artists were let it in--you can definitely say that on the journalism side.

Jerel Marshall

Written by Jerel Marshall

Jerel has covered sports, music and culture for the past 10 years. Whether writing on topics such as the Atlanta Hawks or the musical stylings of electric soul duo Honne, Jerel's work is always brimming with passion and honesty. Also, he'll probably beat you in 2K.

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