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The Only Black Owned Daily Newspaper Left in the United States

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Actually as far as I know there are no daily newspapers left in the United States.  But in a post-racial American this matters very little.  I'm quite confident Ruppert Murdock's, Wall Street Journal and Jeff Bezos' Washington Post has us covered in the print dailies.

 

Plus, with the gift of the World Wide Web, we have up to the second coverage of all that is important to us as Black people.  

 

Our most significant sources of news of importance to Black people is amply covered by the Huffington Post.  What else could we possibly need?

 

Surely the few remaining Black owned newspaper must realize they are no longer needed or wanted--subscriber rates should tell them that.  Besides who has the time to read a newspaper?  Turning all those pages is down right barbaric.  

 

Besides, modern people consume news in bytes sized chucks of 140 characters, on a hand-held device running software optimized to deliver advertisements and facilitate consumption.

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I am among the dinosaurs who still subscribe to and read an actual newspaper every day.  The circulation figures of the 2 Chicago dailies although down, are not out so the print media is managing to hold its own here. Of course, The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Tribune do have online versions for those wanting to get their news this way.  As for black coverage, both of these dailies have popular black columnists on their staffs who monitor and editorialize about black issues. 

 

But not to be underestimated are the reading habits of the senior citizen population whose numbers are impressive.  Out of habit, most of these computer illiterate folks still prefer their news via the print media.  And would you believe, from what I've heard, crossword puzzles, of all things, are among the features that inspire newspaper loyalty among the older crowd.  I can speak for this.  My day is not complete until I work one of these challenging passtimes.  There is no substitute for the ritual of filling in blanks  on a paper page, using a wooden pencil that has a rubber eraser.  Who needs Apple tablets and keyboards?  Apples are for eating, and tablets for swallowing and keyboards for making music.

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Once all the senior citizens who are reading newspapers kick off, that will be the end of the Black owned newspapers.  

 

When i used to commute to work, most people could be seen reading a folded newsppaper.  Now most people have those ubiquitous white ear buds connected to their heads.

 

I too read a newspaper most days, I used to go to the newsstand and buy my local Black-owned paper, the Amsterdam News every Thursday.  But since they don't have newsstands anymore I have not read one in a while.  I did subscribe, but I really should resubscribe--just because.

 

I was planning, for the longest to subscribe to the Chicago Defender, it was widely considered as the best Black newspaper in the country.

 

Interestingly, at the last National Newspaper Publishers Association Awards (previously known as the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association), named The St. Louis American the Best Black Newspaper in the nation.  The Final Call came in second.  [Read the entire article at The Skanner.com].  

 

The Final Call coming in second was a surprise to me, as it has an obvious bias.  I pick up the Final Call from time-to-time as they are hand sold, old school style, on the street.

 

I went to the Defenders site recently and saw all the News One web properties at the top of the page.  I clicked an article and was actually sent to the New One site.  Between that and the news widgets, automatically pulling news stories from feeds, It is not clear there is much local writing being done on the website.

 

When viewed on the web, there does not seem to be very much to distinguish any of the nation's Black owned newspapers.

 

Cynique you may not know this but I used to publish a crossword puzzle here on AALBC.com: http://aalbc.com/fun/crosswords.htm -- I used to enjoy a good crossword puzzle, but have not done one in years

 

Peace

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The "liberal" Chicago Sun-Times and the "conservative" Chicago Tribune are white-owned daily newsapers and the Sun-Times is the one I subscribe to.  I don't know if the black-owned Chicago Defender even puts out a daily edition.  It might publish a week-end one and the last time I saw one of these it was a thin tabloid containing a lot of ads with much of its coverage dedicated to Chicago's black social scene and obituaries. Its reporting of national events were reprints of UP and AP news agencies. It's always been hard to pick up a copy of The Defender outside of Chicago.  I have no idea what its current circulation is.   

 

The Defender has been in deep financial trouble for years and has had to make drastic cuts but the heirs of the original black owner have refused to sell it or accept offers of white syndicates to absorb it in their publishing conglomerates. There are a few small black newspapers serving their local comunities in Chicago. And, as I said, black columnists on the staffs of Chicago's 2 white owned newspapers do represent well for their black readership and never shy away from controversy. I don't know what this proves, but black anchors are also very well represented on the televised newscasts.   I tend to think that most senior citizens get their news from TV nowadays.  

 

BTW, along with crossword puzzles, the comic pages also  command reader loyalty. 

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After an certain age comic strips failed to hold my interest.  As a kid we used to get the Sunday paper delivered by a newsboy.  Do they still have newsboys any more?  At any rate the first thing, and probably the only thing I would read were the comics.  There were so many comic strips in our local Sunday newspaper.  I'm not even sure if a Sunday editon of the paper, The NY Daily News is even printed.

 

Of course none of the comic strips featured Black characters, save the rare occasion when Franklin appeared in the Schultz strip.

 

Even as late as the early 2000's there were very few nationally syndicated cartoonists (less than 10).  I kept track of them for years here: http://aalbc.com/authors/comics.htm  One day Aaron McGruder emailed to complain (literally) that he was not on the list.  I added him to the website.  After that I always got his books in the mail.  My youngest was a fan.  She was also a fan of Jerry Craft who I got to know personally.  Jerry was always kind enough to do a really nice autograph of his books to my kid.

 

Charles Boyce was always supportive of the site.  Now as a look back at that page I really should update it.  While our cartoonist have fewer platforms there a lot of good ones that we all should know.

 

Recently I discovered Charles Siler.  He is a conscious artist whose drawing often depict a controversial subject.  He allowed me to use one of his strips on my blog we both were concerned about the fact that Essence stopped using the Black owned Community Book Center, after more than a decade of service, in favor a a white owned store.

 

As I think more about it, the benefits of Black owned newspapers go beyond words on a page.  They were one of many institutions , like a good bookstore, that tie communities together.  My kid's photo was in the Amsterdam News (local Black owned Newspaper) when she won a spelling bee held at a Black owned book store (Harlem's Hueman Bookstore), which was sponsored by the Harlem Book Fair.  This type of thing possible 10 years ago could not happen today.

 

It is actually quite sad for me to see all these newspapers, bookstores, and even websites whiter away and die.  These institutions served real people. The worse part is that we aren't even the beneficiaries of these changes.  The trade-off means more profits from some corporation.

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Del the market has indeed spoken.  But lets be clear, the market does not speak for us--it rarely does.  

 

Young Black readers do not read newspapers (or books for that matter), because they simply can't.  They get nothing out of newspapers because they are unable to understand the content.  Did you see the article I posted recently: where it points out that in New York City only 8% of Black 8th grade boys are proficient at reading?

 

Why would an efficient market create a  create a product no one can consume?  

 

Markets exist to make money, not to create an environment where we have competent, caring, knowledgeable, loving, and happy adults.

 

Lately I've started to notice a lot of video on Facebook that are clearly fake, or not what they appear to be, but people believe them to be true, based upon the comments.  I don't know if the people are stupid or what.  But it is very scary how easily we can be manipulated.

 

Again I think if we read more we would not be such easy prey.  The disappearance of newspapers is not helping.

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Just to throw this in on the comic strip part, there are a lot of young Black artists who are publishing and creating some very good work. A couple to check out are:

Mike Archie: http://perfectman.wordpress.com/

Quinn McGowan: http://www.quinnproart.com/comic-book.html

Are two I recently discovered through a Black Business connection on Facebook. There are others attached to these two, but I see something from them daily.

 

In regard to newspapers we have the Tri State Defender, locally, and to be honest I very rarely read our major newspaper or the Defender. I'm focused on developing my brand since my contract with my agent ends this month. I've been very focused on this and my shoe company for the last few months.

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