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African American women: We're listening

By Mara Schiavocampo, NBC Nightly News digital correspondent

So far, our series on African American women has gotten a tremendous response. Tons of you are posting to the website, sending emails and calling.
 
We appreciate that and we're listening.
 
Since you've taken the time to tell us how you feel, I want to take a moment to respond to two of your biggest concerns:
 
NOT ENOUGH TIME
A number of you have complained that the pieces are too short and not in-depth enough. Some of you take that as a slight, like NBC News doesn't truly care enough about the series to devote major time to it. But in fact, by Nightly News standards, the stories are actually long, and it's a seven-part series. The imperfect reality is that we are a 30-minute program constrained by time. Most pieces on the broadcast run less than two minutes. In general, the standard time for a news piece is one minute and 30 seconds (I remember one of my graduate school professors telling my class "You should be able to tell the second coming of Christ in less than two minutes!"). So in fact, the pieces in this series are longer than the standard time. And we also devoted seven parts to the series precisely because we knew we wouldn't do justice to the issue with one or two pieces. I know, I know, it goes by fast. And I know what it's like to get to the end of a piece and feel like, "That's it?"  We all wish we had more time - in many cases the producers and correspondents more than the viewers! But unfortunately, that's just not the format we're working with. 
 
BASHING BLACK MEN
Many of you feel that by highlighting Black women's success, we are also highlighting Black men's shortcomings. We tried very hard to focus only on Black women. After all, the series is about us. But it's inevitable that some comparisons between Black men and women are made, to paint an accurate picture of what's happening in the community. For those of you who feel that we need to do a better job addressing Black men's circumstances, I agree. They deserve more than just a sidebar mention in a series about women. But this series is about the women. 
 
I look forward to reading what all of you have to say about tonight's story, about Black women's relationships. I also hope you're checking out the web video exclusives (which run longer than two minutes).
 
My piece on interracial relationships, "Love in black and White," is up now. And on Friday, I'll be posting a video version of a roundtable discussion on hip-hop's effect on Black women, featuring Irv Gotti, Melyssa Ford, Kevin Powell and Kendra G. Trust me, it's not to be missed.
 
I love that there's so much dialogue about this and that so many of you are watching and commenting. Keep 'em coming, and we'll keep responding.