Pressing Ahead

Black newspapers continue their fight for readers and advertisers

readers to the companies they solicit. “Advertisers spend $200 billion a year, but less than 1% with black, Asian and Latino outlets,” says Junior. “There are still papers that don’t have press kits and don’t do market research. A lot of black newspapers are small mom-and-pop operations, and it’s never clicked with them that they need to determine how many people in their town use [a certain brand of] toothpaste.” To this end Junior, who has developed black newspaper advertising campaigns for such clients as Merck Pharmaceuticals and State Farm, launched a program in January to provide black publishers with market research information and has helped them develop press kits.

Despite its struggle, industry pundits say that the black press is still a powerful, vital medium. The recent launch of City News and the Cleveland Monitor (two new papers in Cleveland), the potential purchase of the Los Angeles Sentinel, along with the recent spirited bidding wars for both Sengstacke Enterprises Inc. and the Call & Post seem to bear out this belief. “Black newspapers are really the last black voice that we have because black radio stations are being bought up by corporate America,” says Pat DuPree, western regional manager for Amalgamated Publishers Inc. (a national advertising sales firm for black newspapers). “People complain that black newspapers are behind [the times], but let them go away and we’ll see an uproar in the communities.”

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