In a world where accurate and unbiased news reporting is of paramount importance, it is often a struggle to weed through the trenches to find legitimate news sources and outlets. The war of misinformation is running rampant. And social media has made the process of finding reliable news, sans clickbait, 10 times harder.
But amid the questionable options for daily news updates, one individual has proven to be a beacon of hope and a shining example of journalistic integrity. Phil Lewis, a Detroit native and the Senior Front Page Editor at Huffpost, has carved a niche for himself as a trusted voice in the realm of Black journalism. And his name is now synonymous in our books with Black excellence.
Lewis’ journey began in 2015 when he landed a job as an intern at The Huffington Post, now HuffPost. He didn’t have a formal background in journalism. But he was a quick learner and made a name for himself covering politics in Washington, D.C.
“Everything I learned about the field, I learned by doing on the job. Journalism is a trade.You don’t need to attend the fanciest schools in America to become a journalist,” Lewis told Because Of Them We Can.
His commitment to unbiased reporting, deep understanding of diverse communities, and passion for amplifying underrepresented voices has made Lewis a respected and vital figure in the current media landscape.
For Lewis, his journalism career all started when he began transforming the way he viewed social media. Instead of looking at it as just a water cooler of sorts, he began to view it as a powerful vehicle for breaking news and on the ground information.
“When I was in college, someone wrote “no n*ggers, please” on a Black student’s door, Lewis recalled.“ As a member of the Black Student Alliance that year, we spoke out about the racist incident, held programming, crafted a list of demands for school administrators, and came up with the hashtag #MSUBlackUnity for people to air their grievances and support one another on Twitter,”
“This was before the Black Lives Matter hashtag,” he added.“ I could see, for the first time, that social media wasn’t just a platform for memes, jokes, and party promotion. It was a platform where one could instantly share information with the world, without waiting on a news reporter to show up.”
The moment was game-changing for him and informed the way he approached his career as a budding journalist. Lewis developed a fervent passion for authentic storytelling while also recognizing the significance of representation in media. He committed to ensuring Black stories were told accurately and respectfully. He also understood the role of diverse perspectives and underreported issues in contributing to a larger and more accurate news narrative.
“That is my approach as a digital-based journalist today. I make it a point to try and find underreported stories that go unnoticed by a still-predominantly white journalism world,” Lewis said.
Today, Lewis’ dedication to thorough research and in-depth reporting has benefitted us all. Most recently, he was named Editor of the Year by the AAMBC Literary Awards. He has consistently delivered articles that explore various issues affecting Black communities — highlighting everything from grassroots movements to systemic injustices and everyday heroes. His ability to convey complex topics with clarity and nuance has earned him a reputation for providing readers with insights that go beyond surface-level reporting. Lewis understands the power of his platform and how to use it in service of the greater good.
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For those in the Twitterverse, now known as X, or those who are now following Lewis on Threads or other social platforms, he’s become a tried and true primary source for news. While other outlets like TMZ or The Shade Room have also become legitimized sources for both salacious and pertinent news, Lewis has created a somewhat different brand. His work has the panache of old-school journalism while still being progressive, contemporary, and complimentary to the modern media landscape. One user called Lewis “Black Twitter’s very own Anderson Cooper.” And while the comparison is hilarious, the truth is he’s indeed one of one among his media industry peers.
Black Twitter’s very own Anderson Cooper https://t.co/TED70xDuxz— a. 🌻 (@badgal_ari) November 15, 2022
For Lewis, it’s a job he doesn’t take lightly. In the midst of our current racial reckoning, and the war on African-American education, Lewis understands his role in bridging the gap in knowledge. He aims to foster important conversations and promote empathy and understanding among those who engage with his posts.
In an era where the media landscape is rapidly evolving, Lewis has adeptly navigated the digital realm, reaching a wider audience, connecting with readers globally, and breaking down geographical barriers to deliver news to those who may not have access to traditional sources. His use of social media and online engagement is impressive. But even more awe-inspiring has been his ability to foster a sense of community among his readers. For Lewis, it’s something he takes pride in. And with the current chaotic social climate, he plans to go even harder to ensure Black communities are included and heard in the conversation.
“I hope to continue to be a primary news source for Black people,” Lewis said.“ I love it when people tell me they’ve learned something new from a story I’ve shared or written.
“I hope to continue to be an observer and archivist of this unique period we’re in and continue spreading awareness as right-wing activists and lawmakers threaten to roll back the rights of Black folk in America.”
In addition to his work for HuffPost, Lewis most recently launched an award-winning newsletter entitled “What I’m Reading.” The new platform serves as a one-stop shop for followers of Lewis’ content. And through his newsletter, the respected journalist is taking his work a step further to “curate some of the most interesting and informative news stories about the Black experience in America.”
Lewis said the newsletter just made sense as a way to get around the algorithm and create a space for his own original content. So far, he has already racked up more than 14,000 subscribers. And the best part about it is, it’s completely free for readers.
“I created the newsletter in response to a growing number of people online who’ve said they’ve had trouble finding credible sources for news. So I vet the stories that I include and write my own original stories for it as well. The newsletter is free. Everyone should have access to the news,” he told BOTWC.
Lewis’ contributions to Black journalism are undeniable and reflect the exciting new future of Black journalism. Through his passion for amplifying underrepresented voices and commitment to ethical reporting, he has become a celebrated source of information for readers seeking a deeper understanding of the world. Lewis’ work both informs and empowers, making him an influential figure in shaping a more inclusive and meticulous narrative for Black communities and beyond.
As journalism continues to evolve, Phil Lewis’ legacy will undoubtedly serve as a guiding light for aspiring journalists and a testament to the transformative power of responsible reporting. Follow Phil Lewis on all social media platforms and click here to explore his “What I’m Reading.” newsletter.
Cover photo: Meet Phil Lewis, a reliable and trusted news source in Black journalism/Photo Courtesy of Philip Lewis