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Richard Fowler on Journalism, the Media's Role in the Narration of Black Men

Media personality Richard Fowler started his journalism career to tell unique stories. In an interview with The Quintessential Gentleman, Fowler spoke on several topics including challenges, valuing real journalism and the role media plays in the narrative of Black men.

Fowler started out in radio before going on TV to debate media personality Megyn Kelly. Fowler then found a calling for telling profound, transparent stories of Black and brown folks to shift the balance of power. Now, he is a storyteller, progressive Fox News contributor, contributing writer at Forbes and host of The Richard Fowler Show.

“When I’m interviewing incredible people, how do I try to tease things out of them that tell the story that you didn’t expect them to tell,” Fowler asked. “…I want you to give me a story that the audience doesn’t expect.”

When trying to find these stories, there can be challenges in telling the stories of Black men, he said.

The Evanston, Illinois native said we live in a divided society. The George Washington University graduate said his mother, though, played a huge role in being able to equalize everybody. His mother is a nurse, and after so many surgeries, she concluded that everybody is the same, which is the message she relayed to Fowler as a child.

When Fowler got into journalism, he would eventually interview a Holocaust victim, asking her, “What would you tell the Nazis?” She said she couldn’t understand why they didn’t see her as a human being, as she has the same eyes, nose and mouth just like other humans.

So, with that in mind and knowing that everybody is categorized, Fowler said his challenge is to force folks to see outside of those boxes, while knowing who the audience is.

“The goal is what box can I take away?” Fowler asked. “…I try to put myself in their shoes. And then I try to deconstruct as many invisible boxes as I can to get them to the people that I know I want to bring into the room. It’s complicated. And I’m not trying to tell you that it’s easy…”

Fowler believes that lawmakers need to start getting their news from outlets outside of the one or two that they consistently get their updates from. Media platforms that focus on telling stories about Black people are instrumental in changing the narrative of Black people, especially Black men. "We have to show up in every space that we can. And the shared nature of just showing up is important to changing the conversations."

"We've got to do everything in our power to break the stigma and to break the myth that exists around the Black man. That stigma and that myth that exists around the Black man has created fault lines and other parts of our community," Fowler added.

The process in trying to tell the story as accurately as possible isn’t for nothing. Fowler said there is a role for citizen journalism, as well as those conveying their opinion on the subject matter.

Still, in today’s age, it’s all about social media when it comes to getting these stories out there. Fowler said that in feeding the beast, there is a lot of misinformation out there due to the speed that information comes out, which can adversely impact journalism, causing inaccuracies in journalism.

Listen to the full interview below.


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