Frequently Asked Questions regarding The Black Bear

Q: What is The Black Bear?
A: The Black Bear is a student organization (with an accompanying website, Blackbearmostate.org). The Black Bear, produced by students, displays content targeting Missouri State University’s African-American student population.

Q: When was The Black Bear founded?
A: The Black Bear was founded as an official student organization in the fall of 2014 at Missouri State University.

Q: What kind of content will The Black Bear include?
A: The Black Bear will include, but not be limited to, the following: topical news stories; commentary; displays of art (i.e., photography, poetry, and sketches), feature items related to health, finance, business, family, environmental and social issues; as well as announcements. The Black Bear is a multimedia news website. Content may include print, video, audio, graphics and social media.

Q: Is this type of publication a new concept?
A: Not at all. The Black Bear joins close to 200 years of history in America as it relates to the Black press. There are currently several African-American newspapers across America and websites catered to the African-American perspective. Historically, the Black Press has served as a voice for the African-American community, in both an advocacy role and as a teaching tool for all readers within a respective community. Today, due to the growth of the internet and advances in technology, several niche publications and television networks/shows are being created to target various demographics: women, men, children, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, gays/lesbians, fisherman, sports fanatics, etc. Publications, television networks/shows, and advertisers spend millions of dollars researching the trends of various age groups within a respective demographic.

Q: What is the news philosophy of The Black Bear?
A: The Black Bear follows the Code of Ethics set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists. Also, The Black Bear will indicate whether a submission is a work of journalism, a work of commentary, or otherwise. While our journalism follows the ABCs (Accuracy, Balance and Clarity), works of commentary will aim to offer a critical examination of a current issue and will come from the perspective of the commentator.
While The Black Bear targets the African-American community, individual journalists will not promote their own agendas within works of journalism. The Black Bear may, at times, raise awareness of an issue, as a public service (i.e., Breast Cancer awareness, HIV/Aids awareness, etc.). Our works of journalism will examine both the good and bad within the African-American community; using multiple sources (both primary and secondary), and sources with different viewpoints. As journalists, our role is to remain impartial and report the facts.
The Black Bear is not connected to or sponsored by any civil rights, radical advocacy or political groups.

Q: Since there are currently student publications on campus, is there a need for The Black Bear?
A: The Black Bear serves as an important compliment to the great student publications currently on campus.
Diversity in Springfield, Missouri is a critical issue. It’s one that Missouri State University and the City of Springfield has addressed directly through several initiatives, including Missouri State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The increasing of diversity has a direct impact on MSU and the City of Springfield as a whole; from a cultural and economic perspective.
By creating a campus venue that highlights the accomplishments and addresses the issues affecting the African-American student community… MSU and the City of Springfield, as a whole, become more sensitive to issues related to African-Americans; including cultural differences and schools of thought.
Oftentimes, journalists may cover a story within a given a community, but know little about that community or have a large degree of separation from that community; thereby producing content that is a bit inaccurate, insensitive, or offensive.
It is also important to note that, in an effort to target African-Americans, many mainstream publications tend to give the impression that all African-American’s feel the same way or think the same way on a given issue. The Black Bear will aim to show that there is diversity of thought and experience within the African-American community.

Q: Can you give me examples of news topics/content that may be published in The Black Bear which targets the African-American community?
A: Sure. Below are several examples of possible headlines:
More and more African-American women are transitioning to natural hair, leaving chemicals behind.
New study shows African-American women develop lupus at a younger age with more complications.
Are African-Americans protected by under “castle-doctrine” laws?
Not all African-Americans agree on Pres. Obama’s stance on immigration.
The Black Bear will also include several on-campus items related to African-American student life; Greek fraternity and sorority events, participation in community service projects, outstanding achievement of students, faculty, staff, etc.

Q: Can only African-Americans write for this website or belong to this organization?
A: No. This organization does not discriminate against anyone based on ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Submissions, however, may be published only after vetting from the editor and may be denied publication based on journalistic, ethical or legal standards. We are always looking for contributors, graphic artists, photographers and columnists willing to contribute to The Black Bear based on the publication’s mission and purpose.

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