I am very proud of my colleague, mentor and co-author, Dr. Jannette L. Dates, who was appointed to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in August 2013. Dates is the Dean Emerita of the Howard University School of Communications, where she served as the Dean for more than 18 years, Associate Dean for five years and as a faculty member in the Department of Radio, Television and Film for a number of years.
Dates and I are co-authoring a book on race, gender, religion and politics in the Age of Obama. The book is an exploration of modern-day representations of African Americans in the mass media with a focus on gender issues, politics, and religion, viewed through the prism of race and as these social constructs relate to the Obamas.
Our book is a continuation of the vision that Jannette Dates and William Barlow gave birth to more than a decade ago with the publication of Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media (Dates & Barlow, 1993). Split Image provided a balanced, historical view of African Americans’ contributions to media and addressed how the dominant European culture in U.S. media established images and structures that impeded the development and recognition of the subordinated African-American culture. In that same vein, as noted, Race, Gender, Religion and Politics: A Critical Reading of Mass Media Portrayals of the Obamas comparatively explores a range of topics with an emphasis on President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Dates has been a frequent speaker and panelist on national television and radio programs where she discussed images of African Americans in the mass media. She has appeared on Both Sides with Jesse Jackson, Booknotes with Brian Lamb on CSPAN, All Things Considered on NPR, Close Up on NPR, Our Visions on BET, and On the Media on NPR, among others.
Prior to her career at Howard, Dr. Dates served as anchor and executive producer of a weekly television magazine for the Baltimore, Maryland, NBC affiliate, WBAL-TV, and as executive producer and host for a distance learning television series for Morgan State College students studying African American history and culture. She served as a panelist on a weekly public affairs television series for the Baltimore, Maryland, ABC affiliate, WJZ-TV, in a weekly series entitled Square Off, and as the co-anchor of the weekly television series North Star for the NBC affiliate in Baltimore, WBAL-TV.
In the 1990’s, Dates served as a Fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University where her research focused on media images and effects, media treatment of African Americans and similar multicultural groups and women. She writes, as well, about the significance of diversity in media industries and in higher education.
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