YSU hosts "Future of Black Media" panel discussion

Black media panel

“Obstacles and Opportunities: The Future of Black Media” is the title of a panel discussion featuring three local journalists 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the auditorium of the Williamson College of Business Administration on the campus of Youngstown State University.

The free public event is sponsored by the Youngstown Press Club, the YSU Department of Communication’s Anderson Program in Journalism and YSU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Due to COVID protocols, masks are required. 

Panelists will discuss the challenges that face black journalists and media professionals. Panelists include Ernie Brown, retired regional editor at The Vindicator; Aaron Deane, an anchor for WYTV; and Malaynia Spiva, a reporter for WFMJ Today. Moderator is Art Byrd, Youngstown Press Club member and long-time Mahoning Valley content creator.

The idea for the panel was developed after conversations among Press Club members on the growing need for diversity among our local newsrooms and media outlets. “As media outlets grow and options for news consumption expand, the importance for representation has never been more important,” said Adam Earnheardt, executive director of the Youngstown Press Club and professor of Communication at YSU.

Ernie Brown was the regional editor for The Vindicator from 1986 until he retired in 2019. Brown has been recognized for his work by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Psi Omicron Chapter’s Person of the Year, Delta Sigma Theta Youngstown Alumnae Chapter for Political Awareness and Involvement, honorary co-chairman for the first African-American Male Wellness Walk/Run, and for community service by the Ebony Lifeline Support Group in 2012. 

Aaron Deane serves as a weekday co-anchor for the 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on WYTV and produces the 11 p.m. newscast. At Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, he was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity as well as the National Association of Black Journalists. He previously worked as a multimedia journalist and fill-in anchor at WNCT in Greenville, N.C., and a photojournalist for WFXR in Roanoke. 

Malaynia Spiva, a native of Warren, is an Emmy Award-winning journalist at 21 News - WFMJ. Spiva joined WFMJ in 2016 as morning reporter for WFMJ Today and WFMJ Weekend Today. She previously was a disc jockey at z88.1 FM in Akron and the owner of an online travel publication that featured events and entertainment for the state of Ohio. 

Arthur Byrd worked as a video photojournalist at WFMJ TV 21 and is a former instructor at YSU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications from YSU. He is a member of the Toastmasters, holding the title of Distinguished Toastmaster.