Monday, February 16, 2009

Hip Hop Response

I commend him in his effort to talk about this subject, but I think that calling this journalism is a stretch. The whole story is one sided from the point of view of Elizabeth Berry. He doesn’t get both sides of the story and it seems that he didn’t even attempt to.
If he had gotten some feedback from battered women and their specific situations and then backed it up with information from Berry, I think I would look at it differently than I do now. The story now is about her and what she thinks and not about Chris Brown or Rihanna. I think if you’re going to talk about domestic abuse, then you need to really talk about it and not just “report” a one sided story from the mouth of a professional. Get in the trenches with the people who have experienced the violence.
He could still relate it to hip hop culture by sourcing other artists who have been victims of domestic violence and then have Berry talk more about the statistics.
There could have been other ways of going about this, especially if you were going to call it journalism. I think that serious topics deserve serious reporting.


  1. I'm flattered by the linking and analysis of my video, and of course you are right that it was an opinion piece and not a journalistic effort in any strict sense. :)

    In fact, my reference to "doing a little journalism" was mostly tongue-in-cheek, a hip-hop inside joke of sorts. It was meant chiefly as a mocking reference to someone known as DJ Vlad, who had recently made highly dubious claims of being a "journalist," and not at all intended for the sort of literal-minded interpretation it's receiving here. :)

    My aim was not to give "both sides of the story," which IMO is an errant critique in its assumption that there are only two "sides" to this (or any) story. It was meant to offer one of the *many* perspectives on this issue, one that had been underrepresented in mass media discourse up until then. And I do fully stand by it as a serious and substantive commentary, in that regard, and am confident that we were in fact "really talking about it." :) But I do greatly appreciate the responses here nonetheless.

  2. BTW I have a question, directed more to the professor:

    I'm curious why my given name was used here, almost exclusively, rather than the name by which I am publicly known? My birth name is not a secret and I'm not mad or offended to see it used, per se. But I never use that name in my public life so it just looks a little strange to me. Especially since the same was not done with Rihanna, whose real name is Robin Rihanna Fenty.

    It brings to mind this article last year in Columbia Journalism Review, about the inconsistent treatment of stage names in the NY Times:

    Now that I find myself on the receiving end I am inclined to agree with the article's conclusion (apparently now shared by the Times) that this convention of selectively reverting to given names is outdated, and ought to be reconsidered.