For the past three days the internet has blown up with news of Los Angeles Times hiring a “#Black Twitter” Reporter. Dexter Thomas has been added to the staff to specifically to cover the happenings in the online communities of African Americans, and Latinos via Twitter, Medium, and Tumblr.
The staff memo announcing the new position for belonging to Thomas, was leaked this week through Poynter. Managing Editor S. Mitra Kalita explained Thomas’ new position and all that it entails. “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.”
Black Twitter can easily be defined as online community of African Americans who discuss happenings within the culture.
The very online community that Thomas has been hired to report on, has been bashing the very thought of his new job, going as far as to question his “blackness” being that he is a Doctoral Candidate in East Asian Studies. His response being “what, a brother can’t have diverse interests/abilities anymore? When did that happen?” Thomas took to twitter to answer questions and concerns in a light hearted way claiming to be “0% mad” and asking all of “Black Twitter” to “yes, please address all tests or melanin to #askdexdigi,” ultimately being open to all banter.
The online society that is Black Twitter, is eager to see Thomas at work at his new job with Los Angeles Times. Thomas told alldigitocracy “I want to work with people to tell their own stories, not make things like listcicles on the top 10 things people think about Beyonce’s hair,”