Interview With Cedric Muhammad Regarding Black Electorate Communications Financial Market and Political Economy Analysis (Part one)
Tomorrow, we will be making our client service, Black Electorate Communications Financial Market and Political Economy Analysis available for our BlackElectorate.com viewing audience. For over 6 months we have been mentioning the appearance of this service and its two chief products and have periodically received questions regarding our goals and motives for launching it. We also have received inquiries about its structure. The questions have been excellent. Today and tomorrow we have combined some of those questions with some of our own and answered them in an effort to properly and attractively introduce the products. Here is Part one of our interview with Cedric Muhammad, President of Black Electorate Communications and Publisher of BlackElectorate.com.
Q: What is Black Electorate Communications Financial Market And Political Economy Analysis?
A: Black Electorate Communications Financial Market and Political Economy Analysis is a written communications service which packages news analysis, first-hand or "inside" information and commentary. The product is delivered in dynamic fashion over the Internet and is time-sensitive with an eye always to how the past and present inform us of what may develop in the future. The product consists of 1) analytical commentaries written every week which provide analysis, commentary and projections regarding current political, and economic events 2) dispatches written spontaneously to provide immediate comment, analysis, and predictions regarding breaking news 3) quarterly special reports (available for annual clients) which provide in-depth coverage of critical events, individuals and institutions influencing the political and economic terrain in the U.S. and abroad. The scope of the coverage, between the two products, will range from inner-city economic development and the activities of the Congressional Black Caucus to U.S. foreign policy and international monetary policy.
Q: Why are you launching the product at this time?
A: We see the launch of the product as a natural progression and evolution of our work and mission at BlackElectorate.com. For over 18 months we have worked to develop and serve an audience of viewers who appreciate the news, opinions, worldview and analysis available at the website. Having developed that audience we are establishing a business model that compliments and grows out of our service to that core audience. Our viewers are some of the most diverse and intelligent to be found anywhere on the Internet and we believe that a viable business model can emerge and grow from serving that audience in a variety of ways. Black Electorate Communications Financial Market Political Economy Analysis is one such way. It is a product that logically grows from our foundation, which we have laid for nearly two years, via the Internet, and actually longer, in other ways.
Q: Who do you think is your '"target audience" or "ideal consumer" for the new product?
A: We think that the product, for certain, can do 3 things for its clients. It can help individuals and institutions to make professional decisions. It can help individuals and institutions make money. And it can significantly increase the knowledge and understanding base of said individuals and institutions. In those three areas our "ideal customer" would be professional political observers and participants, economists, financiers and businesspersons on one end and college students, professors, ministers, journalists and avid readers on the other end of the spectrum of our viewing audience. The product and its samples have been reviewed and previewed by a select group of all of the aforementioned groups and received a positive, enthusiastic and satisfactory response. We received constructive criticism as well as praise and refined the product according to the input of those within our viewing audience who we thought might be most likely to become clients of our services.
Q: Is there any relationship between the new product and BlackElectorate.com? Does the launch of the product mean any changes for BlackElectorate.com in terms of appearance or content?
A: Yes, the new product, of course, will be available through the website. In fact, every new analytical commentary will be available for our clients via the frontpage. We also see BlackElectorate.com and its daily coverage, opinions, and assortment of links to be a compliment of the BEC product. The daily news stories and link room will allow our clients to further their study, review and contemplation of what we have written in the form of analytical commentaries, dispatches, and special reports. We think that Black Electorate.com and its resources provide an important tool for our clients and we will encourage them to make use of the website in the manner that is most appropriate for them.
In terms of content and look, with the exception of the appearance of the titles of the analytical commentaries we don't anticipate any immediate changes to the look of the site.
Most of our older viewers are aware of the changes to the site in terms of adding a search engine and archives to the website this summer as well as the changes we made last month in terms of the look of the site. But we don't anticipate any major changes in the short-term. Only the addition of more content and products when appropriate would alter the look.
In terms of content, we will be discontinuing our Sunday Deeper Look-only edition and we are opening up the Deeper Look section of our website to a variety of voices, opinion leaders, and newsmakers. I will still regularly represent in A Deeper Look but we will increase the amount of guest opinion editorials from journalists, Black opinion leaders, BlackElectorate.com viewers and newsmakers. We hope to demonstrate the widest spectrum of opinion and political thought in the Black electorate and worldwide.
Q: How will the news stories at BlackElectorate.com be affected?
A: I don't forsee them being affected at all. If you will notice, we are adding new links almost on a weekly basis in "The Link Room." and news stories from new websites that we learn of from our viewers and independent research. We will continue to do so until we run out of new sites that offer a valuable perspective. We spend a great deal of time and thought over what stories we link to in our sections every day and have actually increased the quality and quantity of the news coverage.
Q: What qualifies you to stand before the world-wide web and offer your analysis for a fee?
A: Only my perspective and background and the unique utility they provide for others could "qualify" me to do what we are doing. I certainly do not think that we know everything that there is to know on the subjects that we cover but I am very confident in our ability to not only take a deeper look at events, individuals, institutions and the news but to predict what the future may hold for the subject that we are covering. We live by our motto that "insight is the basis of foresight" and we do not view our analysis as a static product. We view it as dynamic and as such it is essential that we provide value to our clients by looking at the world in 3-D : past, present, and future. Some that make predictions have no knowledge of the history and as a result, we feel their products and services suffer. Others like to write only of the past and present and feel little confidence in using their analysis to offer a reasoned opinion of what may take place in the days ahead in the light of what they have seen of the past and present. We don't guarantee an outcome but rather, we guarantee clarity of thought, critical analysis and reasons (largely but not entirely based upon our understanding of the past and present) for our view of the forward motion of a circumstance, individual, or institution. We take this approach and apply it to any subject that we write upon – whether it be the political strategy of a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, an emerging political development in the Middle East, or the price movement of a particular stock.
Q: But what about you in particular, as a young Black political economist and analyst? Don't you think that some people would be justified in dismissing your work?
A: If being Black and under 30 years old is enough to disqualify my work then so be it. The person who thinks like that obviously has considerable blindspots in their thinking and worldview. At 29, I have traveled the world, studied directly or indirectly under some of the best economists and financial analysts in the world. I know hedge fund managers and newspaper editors. I have managed several businesses and among other things, have consulted and advised members of Congress, local, state, federal and foreign governments and/or their representatives on political, economic, and cultural issues. My opinions and analysis have been featured from publications ranging from The Wall St. Journal to The Final Call and I have appeared several times on Bloomberg financial radio and MSNBC, among other outlets. I feel just as welcome and am as warmly received on Black talk-radio stations like 1190 WLIB-Am in New York City as I am on the Armstrong Williams television program. I don't concern myself with stereotypes, prejudices and labels. We hope to break all of those down by our work. In fact, each day, we hope to accomplish that in the manner in which we cover the world at BlackElectorate.com Anyone who knows me and our site knows that we have points of agreement with liberals, conservatives, socialists, libertarians, progressives, supply-siders, monetarists and Keynesians, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Reforms and others and don't concern ourselves with conforming to a way of thinking just to be in harmony with the "in-group", or leaders of public opinion at the local or international level. We focus on research and reason and allow everybody else to label our work. We know our analysis is sound and has already won the respect of those who are familiar with it. I anxiously look forward to sharing what we do with so many people who are unfamiliar or unaware of our analysis.
Q: What would a typical week of the product look like, in terms of the analytical commentaries?
A: Roughly speaking, for our U.S. Black Political Economy you may see a 1200-word analytical commentary on a new trend developing in Black voting patterns, and an 1800-word commentary on a peculiar movement in the stock price of one of the Black-publicly traded firms. For our Africa, The Americas, The Middle East and The Islamic World product you may see a 2000-word analysis of an international trade issue; a 1500-word commentary on the economic impact of an election in Latin America; and 900 words on a development on the margin impacting the Muslim world. Along the way, one may even receive a 550-word BEC dispatch via e-mail at lunchtime or at 10 PM Eastern Time regarding a breaking news development in either product category.
Q: What makes the product different in your opinion?
A: The combined subject matter, first and then our ability to simultaneously analyze political, cultural and economic factors. I think that the areas that make up our two products are greatly underserved and we can think of no one company that exclusively focuses on them as we do. Secondly, we think that cultural forces are critical to understanding political and economic phenomenon. So many financial analysts, economists and political scientists are either uncomfortable with the subject or deliberately ignore the influence that culture has on and in politics and economics. We can see this today with the quality of the analysis in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack at the Pentagon and the World trade Center. The gross ignorance of culture and religion among those who are charged with analyzing and explaining the news has been glaring and has negatively affected us all, in one form or another, as individuals are making professional, financial and life-altering decisions based upon the opinions of political leaders, economists, journalists and financial analysts who don''t comprehend the thinking and culture of billions of people on the planet earth. BEC Financial Market and political Economy Analysis makes cultural influences like religion and how it impacts politics and economics a staple of its coverage. We are running toward such factors while others shy away from that focus. Especially at a time when the world is being moved by cultural issues we think our service represents added value for customers who may not be able to find consistent coverage of cultural issues like race and religion, for example, in the other information services they pay for.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001