by Chamidae Ford
March 19 marks the one-year anniversary of the Morning Update Show, a live weekday broadcast from Converge Media that delves into news and current issues impacting Seattle’s Black community. When Omari Salisbury and Trae Holiday first launched the program, they thought it would only last a few months. Initially, it began as a “pop-up show” with the goal of getting COVID-19 information out to the Black community.
“The news was overwhelming for everybody,” Salisbury said. “I like to tell people at the time, COVID information was like taking a drink out of a fire hydrant. There was just so much information out there — a lot of disinformation too — but I knew one thing for sure is none of that information was tailored towards the people in our community and especially our elders and those most marginalized.”
While the show began with the sole intention of informing the community about COVID-19, it has evolved over the last year.
“We’re uplifting Black people daily,” Salisbury said. “We’re proud to say this is a Black news network but also the quality of our reporting and the quality of the information that we get out to the public is meaningful and impactful for all people. We wake up every morning with the intention of ‘How can we uplift our community?’”
The Morning Update Show represents a unique way to provide news. It is hyper-local while still tackling difficult worldwide issues. It weaves objective news with personal stories, allowing listeners to form their own opinions while also hearing a human narrative.
“It’s newsworthy, but I think [Omari] and I do a really great job of him being more so the journalist perspective and finding ways to keep it objective, and me — I come in with such a community approach,” Holiday said.
Salisbury and Holiday have an important position as community members themselves who recognized the large hole in telling Black stories for the Black community and filled it.
“Growing up in the Central District in the time where it was predominantly Black, both of us being Garfield High School graduates, and both of us going from Garfield to pursue things in media after our college careers, really helps us bring about that community perspective that isn’t really alive and well on most major media platforms,” Holiday said.
This community-focused format also allows them to prioritize certain stories that often get lost in larger news outlets.
“It’s important to note that [the Morning Update Show] has really allowed us to hone in on stories and long story format more. Let’s dive a little deeper. Let’s give this more time. Let’s keep following up on certain stories that are really important to the community versus other outlets,” Holiday said. “And so we have a different approach about carrying that story. It’s more humanistic and caring and I would say an empathetic approach than what others may bring to those kinds of stories.”
Black pride radiates throughout the show, in the stories they tell and the energy they bring to the broadcast.
“I’m really proud to be a part of the Converge family and the Morning Update Show family. And I’m really proud of the work that Omari and myself and our whole crew — I’m really just proud of what we’ve done and what we’re going to continue to do,” Holiday said.
And while Salisbury and Holiday are the faces of the show, the people behind the scenes and the listeners fuel it.
“People committed so much of their time and energy because they believe in what we want to achieve here,” Salisbury said. “I’m so very thankful to my colleagues that are here and have been committed to what we’re trying to do. And the people out there who support and the people who donate. I mean, they literally keep us on the air.”
Holiday hopes that the Morning Update Show will continue to expand and provide news people from all over can connect with while still staying focused on their community.
“And I looked forward to growing with Converge in a way that allows for more and more Washingtonians, those in the Pacific Northwest, those nationally and internationally to hear us bring a real personal touch to news while staying objective,” Holiday said.
Although the long-term plans of the show remain unknown, Salisbury stresses they will continue to give the community what they want.
“Our intention is to continue to provide a service to the community as long as the community needs [this] service,” Salisbury said.
Chamidae Ford is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Washington. Born and raised in Western Washington, she has a passion for providing a voice to the communities around her. She has written for The Daily, GRAY Magazine, and Capitol Hill Seattle. Reach her on IG/Twitter: @chamidaeford.
Featured image courtesy of Converge Media.
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