Black News Channel breaks media stereotypes with positive, inspiring stories in black community

'The mainstream media tends to focus on how bad things are,' says CEO Princell Hair. 'For the Black News Channel, we want to also tell those stories about people who are doing great things in their communities.'

Updated: July 16, 2020 - 8:48am

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In a time of nationwide racial unrest with the mainstream media depicting urban black dystopia, television news startup Black News Channel aims to break these stereotypes by telling inspiring stories about black achievement, according to Princell Hair, the fledgling network's newly-installed president and CEO. 

"[T]he mainstream media really tends to focus on how bad things are," Hair told Just the News in a video interview. "And I think for the Black News Channel, we want to also tell those stories about people who are doing great things in their communities. They are inspirational stories, so that people don't forget that there are a lot of positive things happening in the black community. And the fact of the matter is there really wasn't an outlet for that before, but we have an outlet for that now. And it's our goal and our job really at the Black News Channel to bring those stories to light."

Hair said BNC aims to break the grip on cable news maintained by outlets like MSNBC, Fox News and CNN that he said unnecessarily aggravate cultural and political polarization.

"We have conditioned our audiences to look at things from the left or the right — the cable news world has has done that," said Hair, a veteran of NBC News and CNN. And my goal here is that we tell the truth, and we tell the truth from as many different sides as we can, and the facts are the facts. And we really leave it up to our audience and trust our audience to make up their own minds about particular stories of the day."

With funding from billionaire Shahid “Shad” Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars football team, BNC launched in February, just prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hair said BNC is now distributed on Spectrum cable, Comcast XFINITY, Roku, Pluto TV, and other OTT platforms. He said the network wasn't yet Nielsen-rated and declined to share viewership figures.

"If you were planning to launch a television news network, you probably wouldn't do it in the middle of a pandemic or at the beginning of a pandemic," Hair said. "But the network has really thrived during these very difficult times. We've had major stories over the course of the past six months that have really disproportionately affected the black community. The pandemic, obviously, is one of them, where blacks are getting more, blacks are getting sicker. The economic impact that the pandemic has caused, the civil unrest, and police reform, calls for police reforms. Those are all things that have really impacted the black community."

In a release announcing Hair's appointment, BNC said its programming "helps close the 'image gap' that exists today between the negative black stereotypes perpetuated by mainstream media news and our enterprising African American communities."

Hair replaces interim CEO, J.C. Watts, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. With the announcement of a new CEO, Watts will return to his role as chairman. 

"As journalists, we really want to give voice to the voiceless," Hair said. "And with the exception of just a few times in our history, the black community has largely been unheard or ignored. And really our job at the Black News Channel is to be the conduit that brings those voices to the forefront and really amplifies our stories in our communities through our storytelling." 

Watch the full interview here: 

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