The Los Angeles Times has hired a reporter to cover what has colloquially become known as “Black Twitter.”
According to Poynter University, an online institute for language arts and journalism, the following is a portion of the memo that was sent out by Times Managing Editor S. Mitra Kalita informing staff of the new addition (Kalita is also an adjunct professor at Poynter):
Dexter Thomas joins us today to cover Black Twitter (which really is so much more complicated than that). He will work closely with the newsroom and #EmergingUS to find communities online (Black Medium to Latino Tumblr to Line in Japan) and both create stories with and pull stories from those worlds. Dexter is from San Bernardino and is a doctoral candidate in East Asian studies at Cornell University. He has taught media studies and Japanese and is writing a book about Japanese hip-hop. He began working in digital media at UC Riverside as a student director of programming at KUCR-FM (88.3), independently producing podcasts, music and news programs. He writes regularly on social justice, Internet and youth culture, and video games.
Thomas has already begun using his personal Twitter feed in apparent jest to showcase his cultural awareness. In a recent tweet he pronounces basketball super star LeBron James’s name in three different ways, then proceeds to ask “is that black enough for you?”
— でじことdex digital (@dexdigi) July 7, 2015
“Black Twitter” refers to the social media presence of politically active and aware black users. It has become a staple of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which focuses on allegations of police brutality against minorities. For example, during this past Oscar season, Black Twitter started an #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on the platform to protest the lack of black Oscar winners at the awards ceremony.
Not everyone seems to be pleased with Thomas’s new post:
what, a brother can’t have diverse interests/abilities anymore? when did that happen? https://t.co/M8rfcZas3G
— でじことdex digital (@dexdigi) July 6, 2015
Twitter itself has recently come under fire for a perceived lack of racial diversity.