Black News Future: exploring the current state of Black news media in Portland

The center is honored to collaborate with Bruce Poinsette and sponsor “Black News Future,” a 3-part panel series exploring the current state of Black news media in Portland and the future of the local landscape. Each panel features Portland’s Black media community guests, ranging from columnists to podcasters to editors and more.

Black News Future Part 1 featuring Mac Smiff, Jenni Moore and Donovan Scribes

This panel focuses on the future of Black media, particularly in print journalism.

Donovan Smith is an award-winning writer, producer, and multi-faceted creative serving the greater Portland community. He’s penned nearly 200 articles that have appeared in The Skanner, Oregonian, Travel Portland, Portland Observer, Oregon Humanities, Gresham Outlook, Portland Tribune, Street Roots, and more. His Gentrification is WEIRD! Project has evolved through the years from a t-shirt statement into a leading multimedia platform pushing important conversations about Black culture, policies and place in Oregon.

Mac Smiff is a Portland, Oregon-based journalist, activist, and editor of We Out Here Magazine, a regional online hip-hop magazine. He is known as a community organizer and leader in the Black Lives Matter movement calling to defund the Portland Police Bureau. Smiff has received attention during the 2020 protests over the killing of George Floyd and has been published in The Oregonian, Portland Mercury, and Vortex Music Magazine, among other publications.

Jenni Moore is a writer and editor based in Portland. Formerly the music editor and copy chief at the Portland Mercury newspaper, Moore has also contributed as an independent freelance journalist to various regional publications such as Portland Monthly, Travel Oregon, Mercatus PDX, and We Out Here Magazine.

Black News Future Part 2 featuring Morgan Jones and Kan Jones

This panel focuses on the future of Black media, particularly in the audio realm (i.e., radio and podcasting). Featuring personalities from Portland’s only Black radio station, The Numberz FM, the discussion explores the current landscape of Black radio and podcasting and what’s needed to build Black media infrastructure and highlight current projects that deserve more attention.

Morgan Jones is a multi-hyphenate creative, including Podcaster, Accessories Maker, and Political Analyst from Portland, OR. Morgan has found meaning in learning and sharing information with others to collectively dismantle systems of oppression for all people. 

Kan Jones is a man trying to turn small talk into medium talk to understand the larger picture. He’s a multimedia maven content developer, and sometimes he says things that people think are cool.

Black News Future Part 2 featuring Candace Avalos, Sen. Akasha Lawrence Spence & Winta Yohannes

This panel focuses on the interface between local politics and media. It explores the role of traditional journalism and editorials in influencing campaigns around Black issues, as well as looks at examples such as the Rose Quarter development project and recent non-general elections.

Candace Avalos is a first-generation American “Blacktina,” daughter of Black Americans from the south and Guatemalan immigrants. She currently serves as the Executive Director at Verde. Before her venture into the nonprofit world, she worked at Portland State University for eight years providing civic engagement education and advising support for student leaders. Originally from Virginia, she lives in NE Portland and is an active member of her community, such as a co-founder of the Black Millennial Movement, serving on the Citizen Review Committee and Charter Review Commission for the City of Portland, as well as on the boards of Portland: Neighbors Welcome, Street Roots, and the Oregon Kickball Club. Sen.

Akasha Lawrence Spence is an innovator, change agent, and intuitive strategist who puts the community first. She proudly serves NW and SW Portland and The City of Tigard as Oregon State Senator for District 18. She is also the Founder & Principal Designer of Fifth Element—a conscientious community development firm fortifying historically undercapitalized communities through decision-making power and real property ownership.

Winta Yohannes serves as the executive director of the Albina Vision Trust – a nonprofit organization stewarding the thoughtful reinvention and transformation of lower Albina, from which thousands of primarily African American residents were forcibly displaced. Previously, she served as a senior policy advisor in Portland City Hall and is passionate about connecting community power to the political process. Winta grew up in Northeast Portland and graduated from Reed College.

This series is the brainchild of journalist, writer, community organizer, and podcast host Bruce Poinsette, SOJC grad ’11. Follow and subscribe to Bruce Poinsette to get the latest information.

Thanks to Alli Weseman and Nate Ilebode for capturing and producing these videos.