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BlackStats                      
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $656 Billion (2003)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing 145.2 bil.
 - Food 56.5 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks 32.6 bil.
 - Clothing 23.0 bil.
 - Health Care 18.0 bil.

Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of Black America."
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NEWSPAPER NEWS
THE LATEST ON WEEKLIES, DAILIES AND PUBLISHERS

'Gainesville Guardian' names interim team to replace fired editor

By Editor & Publisher
Staff
Reporters
(August 24, 2005) Two long-time Gainesville (Fla.) Sun veterans were named interim co-editors to replace Charlotte Roy, who was fired just days before the Thursday launch of the New York Times Co. weekly that targets heavily African-American east Gainesville neighborhoods.

One co-editor -- Sun Business Editor Doris Chandler, an African American who worked on the committee that planned the new weekly -- has worked for the daily for 36 years. The other, former Managing Editor Rob Oglesby, was at the paper for 31 years before retiring in 2001.

"We're real pleased to have the Guardian in the hands of two veteran journalists, and we wish Charlotte well," Sun Publisher Jim Doughton said in an Sun article by Bob Arndorfer announcing the changes Wednesday. "We are very grateful and appreciative of all her good work in getting the first issue out."

Doughton, who also serves as publisher of the Guardian, said the paper would conduct a search for a permanent editor of the new weekly.

Roy, who declined to comment extensively on her departure with E&P Tuesday, elaborated on the sudden event in comments to "Journal-isms" columnist Richard Prince that were posted late Tuesday on the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education's Web site.

"I just was called down and told that it wasn't a good fit," Roy told Prince. "I'm job hunting. I want to find a good job. This was my dream job. I produced a wonderful product. The paper is excellent. Everybody I've been working with has said it is a remarkable job. I'm very proud."

She said she couldn't speculate on why she was fired.

The Guardian has generated controversy since earlier this summer when word spread among the black press that the Times Co. would soon publish a black-oriented paper. Some black newspaper owners and columnists suggested this represented the first step of majority-owned newspaper chains into the black press, just as mainstream papers have increasingly created or bought Spanish-language papers that compete with Mom&Pop Latino newspapers.

The Times Co. has insisted that the Guardian is no different than other community weeklies that individual dailies in its regional paper group have launched in recent years.

In the Sun article announcing the interim co-editors, however, Sun and Guardian Publisher Doughton described the paper, which hits the streets Thursday, somewhat differently. He said it is "a community publication designed to serve both east Gainesville and the African-American community."


Bishop T.D. Jakes' MegaFest called 'mega-snub' to Black Press

By Maynard Eaton
The Atlanta Voice
(August 2, 2005) – Talk is cheap and, apparently, so too is renowned television minister Bishop T. D. Jakes. In June, Jakes who has been dubbed “America’s Best Preacher” by TIME magazine, pledged a partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black newspapers.

But when his MegaFest 2005, one of the largest religious conferences ever, rolls into Atlanta this week with an estimated 150, 000 people in attendance not one single dime will have been spent with Atlanta’s Black press.

“We got nothing, he’s not spending anything with Black newspapers,” says Cheryl Mainor, advertising and marketing director for The Atlanta Voice.

The appeals for advertising from the likes of robust publications such as the Voice, the Atlanta Daily World, the Atlanta Inquirer and the six other Black-owned metro Atlanta newspapers fell on deaf ears despite Jakes having said recently at the NNPA’s Chicago convention, “Today is the beginning of a reconciliation between the Black church and the Black press.”

“I’m not surprised at anyone who gives lip service to supporting the African- American press financially, it’s disheartening because the snub is coming from one of the most charismatic ministers to come along in my lifetime,” says Jim Washington, publisher of the Dallas Weekly and president of The Atlanta Voice. “We have a history of people who happen to look like us that support what we stand for, appreciate the service we provide and read our paper but who disappear when it comes down to putting their money where their mouth is. It’s a legacy of ignorance.”

While other media outlets –including black-owned and black-formatted radio – got paid for advertising – black newspapers were only offered free tickets to MegaFest entertainment events in exchange for their advertising space. NNPA President John Smith, publisher of the Inquirer, found that slight to be insulting both to his membership and, particularly, to his Atlanta contemporaries. He is fuming.

“As far as MegaFest is concerned they only come to us for PR, everything else is an afterthought,” Smith complains. “For the most part in a commercial venue and in terms of having a whole marketing plan for the black entrepreneurs and business people that is not happening. They come into our communities and for the most part they leave us as an economic island.”

Smith also says that Bishop Jakes cannot pass the buck nor plead ignorance to this issue. “This has been brought to Bishop Jakes’ attention. He is aware of it because I talked to him myself.”

John L. Procope, former 'N.Y. Amsterdam News' publisher, dies at 82

By Jennifer 8. Lee
The N.Y. Times
(July 18, 2005) John L. Procope, an entrepreneur and former publisher of The New York Amsterdam News, died on Friday. He was 82 and lived in Queens. The cause was complications from pneumonia, according to E. G. Bowman Co., where he had served as chairman.

Mr. Procope, a graduate of Morgan State University, was a marketing and advertising executive at several companies before he joined a consortium that bought The Amsterdam News, a black newspaper based in Harlem, in 1971. He was one of six co-owners of the newspaper when he succeeded Clarence B. Jones as publisher in 1974.

After the 1977 blackout and the resultant looting, Mr. Procope broke the traditional restraint of vocal criticism against other prominent blacks.

He published a blistering front-page editorial that contended that there was a "massive vacuum of leadership in the black communities across the city."

The editorial said that since black leaders "hadn't exercised real leadership prior to the blackout, there was no established communication with our young people to use as a base for communication when the looters began."

He was appointed chairman of the seven-member Emergency Aid Commission, which disbursed about $3 million in grants to businesses hurt by the looting.

In the late 1970's, two co-owners of The Amsterdam News tried to remove Mr. Procope as publisher, saying that business contracts his wife, Ernesta G. Procope, had with the city resulted in a conflict of interest - a contention the Procopes denied.

Mr. Procope left the newspaper in 1982 to focus on E. G. Bowman, an insurance company that had been founded by his wife that was one of the first major African-American-owned businesses on Wall Street. The company's client list started with underserved Brooklyn homeowners but grew to include Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. Procope and his wife were a driving force behind the creation of the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements plan in 1968 to help make insurance available to all residents of New York State. He and his wife were also highly visible in political and philanthropic circles.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sisters, Dr. Jean Martin of Bloomfield, Conn.; and Jonelle Terrell of Manhattan.


AARP partners with NNPA on workshops to reach African-Americans 50-plus

AARP is joining forces with one of the most powerful voices in the African American community to raise awareness about aging issues. AARP and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will host five regional workshops for NNPA publishers that will result in providing timely and relevant information to the African American community.

The announcement was made during the NNPA's 65th anniversary convention in Chicago last week

"AARP is a membership organization whose mission is to meet the varied needs of the 50+ population," said Chief Diversity Officer Ron LeGrand. "Among the 50+ population there are many issues that are relevant to aging Africa Americans such as affordable prescription drugs, caregiving, economic security and fighting age discrimination. We want to make sure this information is easily and readily available to African Americans who may want to take advantage of or participate in AARP programs and activities."

"The Black Press of America reaches 15 million readers weekly with a medium age of 43. These are prime prospects for AARP membership," said Sonny Messiah-Jiles, NNPA Chair. "AARP has an opportunity to develop a stronger working relationship with NNPA members and advocate for the 50+ population. Partnering with AARP makes good sense. Our readers will be better informed about the variety of resources that are available to them."

N.Y. Times said to be planning paper in Gainesville, Fla. targeting blacks

(June 23, 2005) According to the Web site, Journal-isms, The New York Times Co. is preparing to launch a newspaper in Gainesville, Fla. that will be targeted to that city's predominantly black population.

The effort will be similar to the Hispanic newspapers currently published by some of the nation's largest newspaper companies, and would mark the first time that an African-American audience would be the paper's focus.

The New York Times Co. paper is to be known as the Gainesville Guardian and is being coordinated by Charlotte Roy, a former managing editor of the Atlanta Daily World who has worked as a news or feature writer for the Detroit Free Press, the Capitol Times in Madison, Wis., and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Roy is a founding a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

She is working out of the offices of the Gainesville Sun, a regional paper with a daily circulation of 47,000 that is owned by the N.Y. Times Co.

Word of the plans came to light when the following item was placed with the Web site of the National Association of Black Journalists: "The Gainesville Guardian, the first New York Times-owned black newspaper, is hiring a general assignment reporter. Candidates with 2-3 years of news writing experience are encouraged to apply. The position pays between $27,000 - $30,000, the benefits are excellent and the chances to move up within the New York Times organization are great. Gainesville, home town of the University of Florida, is located between Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla."
Click here to read the entire Journal-isms column

'Chicago Defender' cuts its daily frequency by eliminating Tuesday edition

Chicago Defender By Mark Fitzgerald
Editor and Publisher

(June 20, 2005) The Chicago Defender, one of just two black-oriented dailies in the nation, told its readers Monday that it is reducing its frequency from five issues a week to four for the "short term."

"It's only temporary, no longer than about a month," Tom Picou, chairman of the Defender's corporate owner Real Times LLC, told E&P in an interview Monday.

Beginning this week, the Tuesday edition is being eliminated, leaving the paper with a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and weekend edition that publishes on Friday.

In the unsigned note to readers, the paper said it is reducing frequency as a way to "use existing editorial resources" to produce 10 special editions to celebrate its 100th anniversary year, which got underway May 5, and to support two monthly supplements it launched last April.

Picou, though, had a simpler explanation of the move. "The Tuesday paper loses money, it's as simple as that," he said. "You know, we either have to beef it up or restructure it to make a profit. This was strictly a business decision."

All the other editions are profitable, Picou said.

The note is vague about when the paper will return to five-day frequency, and seems to suggest that it will last for the entirety of the centennial year, which ends May 5, 2006. "It is our hope and desire that once our centennial year passes, we will be able to restore production of the Chicago Defender to five days a week," the note said.

Picou, though, insisted that the four-day paper will not last anywhere near that long. "I’m portraying it as very short-term thing," he said. Advertising salespersons were informed of the decision last Friday, and agreed with it, he added.

Picou also contended the cutback does not indicate the often-troubled Defender is a failing enterprise.

"We've turned this paper around," he said, referring to the group of investors who bought the paper in January, 2003, from the estate of longtime publisher John Sengstacke. "When we walked in here, there was a $3 million debt. It's been a struggle for the past two years ... because the company had been deteriorating for 25 years. You know, it took USA Today five years to get to break even. We did that in a little over two years."

Picou said the paper, which is now on probation with the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), hoped to have an audit completed by the third quarter of this year. He said the circulation was about 15,000 weekdays and 19,000 on weekends, which would indicate a gain of about 1,000 copies daily and 2,000 copies on weekends over the newspaper's last ABC statement.

The change in frequency, Picou said, will also not affect the monthly magazines launched last April: The Temple, which is devoted to health issues among African Americans, and All That, which calls itself "the voice of Chicago's urban culture" and is aimed at African Americans aged 18 to 34.

However, Picou said the names of both magazines would be changed because of trademark issues. He said new names had not yet been decided for the supplements.

He also said the paper was changing its circulation system to get more newsracks on the streets and to reach more readers in downtown Chicago. On advertising, the paper is pushing to get more Mom&Pop retailers, and will be beefing up its classified section, Picou said.

Phone calls seeking comment from Real Times President and CEO Clarence Nixon and Executive Editor Roland S. Martin were not returned immediately Monday.


'Chicago Defender' extends reach with debut of new podcast technology

Chicago Defender(May 25, 2005) The Chicago Defender has announced that it is launching the Chicago Defender Inside Black America Podcast starting May 26. The Defender, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, becomes the first black newspaper in the nation to take advantage of this new technology.

Every week, Chicago Defender staff writers and editors will interview newsmakers, book authors and other subjects, taking the content that used to be limited to the newspaper and putting it in audio form. The Chicago Defender will also develop podcasts in conjunction with its 100th anniversary, interviewing longtime staffers, former writers and editors, as well as others in Chicago and abroad who have been influenced by the nation's most historic black newspaper.

"The Chicago Defender is excited to stay on the cutting edge by launching our new podcast," said Roland S. Martin, executive editor of the Chicago Defender. "Our goal is to make this paper the leading news and information source for African Americans in Chicago.

"We believe that the Chicago Defender Inside Black America Podcast will appeal to a younger demographic who are avid Internet users, as well as broaden the content that is used in the Defender, as well as our two monthly magazines - The Temple and all that - and create a unique experience for our customers locally, nationally and across the world."

Clarence Nixon, president and CEO of Real Times, Inc., the parent company of the Chicago Defender, says the podcast will drive tech-savvy users to ChicagoDefender.com, which will in turn increase traffic to the site.

"Since the launch of our website in December, we have been growing our online presence, and this new feature will be of tremendous value to users, but also to advertisers who seek to reach the African American consumer," Nixon said.

The inaugural Chicago Defender Inside Black America Podcast features Robin Stone, former executive editor of Essence Magazine and author of "No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families can heal from Sexual Abuse." The podcasts will be available each Thursday and can be heard or downloaded at www.chicagodefender.com.

Podcasts are audio files that listeners can listen to online or subscribe to with Real Simple Syndication (RSS). By utilizing a free third-party source, users can download the podcast to their iPod or MP3 player.

According to an April 2005 study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, "more than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts from the Web so that they could listen to audio files at a time of their choosing. That amounts to more than 6 million adults who have tried this new feature that allows internet "broadcasts" to be downloaded onto their portable listening device.


'Chicago Defender' kicks off year-long centennial celebration

By Karen E. Pride
(May 5, 2005 - Chicago Defender) An air of pride and excitement filled the offices of the Chicago Defender Thursday as festivities for the newspaper's centennial got underway.


"This is a great day, certainly for us, for the Black press across this country and for African Americans in this city," said Roland Martin, the paper's executive director.  "There are very few Black businesses that have the opportunity to celebrate this kind of day."

He told reporters and guests that one of the Defender's responsibilities is to make sure it's still around for another hundred years.

Robert S. Abbott first published the Chicago Defender, as a weekly, on May 5, 1905. It became a daily publication in 1956 under the leadership of John H.H. Sengstacke, Abbott's nephew, who took up the reins after Abbott's death in 1940.

"This is a Black newspaper, but we are transitioning into the 21st Century.  Our goal is to be a multimedia company," Martin said.  "That is, to be the leading source for information for African Americans in Chicago."

The multimedia platform will mean providing news content in the newspaper, on television and radio and on the Internet.

And instead of creating a single Centennial issue of the Defender, Martin said there would be 10 separate editions, to be published between now and May 5, 2006.

"They will focus on business, religion, sports and entertainment," he said. "We're online at chicagodefender.com and will soon have our archives, stories and historical photos, on line as well."

Kelly spent the morning welcoming guests, discussing the Defender's history and influence on "the Great Migration" of Southern Blacks to Northern cities like Chicago and Detroit, and playing Stevie Wonder's song written in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Happy Birthday To Ya."

During the news conference, Dr. Clarence Nixon, president and CEO of Real Times, Inc., and Thomas Picou, the company's chairman, were given proclamations from Mayro Richard M. Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, declaring May 5 as "Chicago Defender Day" in the city and state. Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka also sent a framed message of recognition to Nixon and Picou.

Black Press Magazine also presented Martin with its All-Star Award for excellence.

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. told the attendees when he and other African Americans his age were growing up, there was no outlet for chronicling Black life until the Defender and other Black newspapers gave them a voice.

"When you look in the mirror and see nothing, you feel diminished," Jackson said.  "That's how I felt until I started reading stories about Blacks and seeing photographs of Black people in the Defender.  There is nothing like it."

Other public officials who attended the reception included Cook County Clerk of Courts Dorothy Brown, Cook County Assessor James Houlihan and Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd).

Martin summed up the Defender's editorial vision by saying it was time to raise the bar again.

"It is our responsibility to take what Robert Abbott did to the next level," Martin said. "We must continue to be the standard bearer for African Americans in this city and in this nation."

Click here to read article on the Chicago Defender's history


'Chicago Defender' debuts two magazine inserts as 100th anniversary nears

(April 12, 2005) The Chicago Defender, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next month, will launch two new monthly magazine inserts this week. The Temple, a publication focusing on the health needs of African Americans, and All That, a vehicle to tap into Chicago's 18-34 year-old readers, will both be unveiled as supplements this Friday.

Of The Temple, Roland Martin (above), the newspaper's executive editor said, "It is our goal to champion those African Americans in this city and state who are doing remarkable work in the healthcare arena, as well as offer useful information in the areas of fitness, diet and other health-related topics." 
 
Martin described All That as the voice of Chicago's urban culture. "We realize that the reading audience for the Chicago Defender is an older demographic, and we wanted a publication that spoke to the needs and concerns of the 18-34-year-old group. Unlike other so-called "Gen X and Gen Y" publications that seem to dumb down the news, we want this publication to present serious topics, but clearly from a different point of view."

For now, both magazines will be inserted into the weekend edition of the Defender. Martin said that later this year, his goal is to have the publications be distributed in the paper and in 250 distribution points around the city. "We will eventually have 50,000 copies of each publication in print, and it is our aim to make them two, top-notch publications."

Black newspaper publishers say Dems,  GOP are not giving them fair ad share

By Hazel Trice Edney
(April 6, 2005 - NNPA) The Republican and Democratic National Committees each spent more than $30 million on advertising and other media-related expenses leading up to the November presidential election. In both instances, however, the proportion they spent with the black media appears to be less than half of their respective black base.

According to a special computer-assisted report conducted for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service by the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.- based research firm that operates OpenSecrets.org, the DNC spent approximately $30,443,565 on media while Republicans spent approximately $32,597,491 for media-related expenses in the Nov. 2 election in which President Bush beat Sen. John Kerry.

DNC spokeswoman Daniella Gibbs Léger said the DNC spent $3.2 million with black media during the last election. This amounts to only 10 percent of its total media expenditures while black voters made up 22 percent of the Democratic base in the 2004 presidential election.

RNC spokeswoman Tara Wall repeatedly refused to reveal the exact amount of money it spent with black-owned media or black-owned newspapers during last year’s elections.

''We spent over a million dollars on ads in the black community leading up to the election. The RNC is committed to increasing our share of the black vote. We have an aggressive outreach effort in place which includes town halls with our Chairman Ken Mehlman, an African-American Advisory Committee, continued and on-going relationships with the Black Press and numerous grassroots outreach events,'' Wall said in a statement.

That $1 million dollars, if accurate, amounted to 3 percent of the total media spending by the RNC. Voters comprised 2.6 percent of the Bush voters in 2004. Wall said in an interview that most of the money was spent on “urban radio” advertisement. However, blacks and Whites own urban radio stations. Therefore, there is no way to determine the percentage of the Republican spending with black media or black newspapers.

Republican representatives, including Wall, who is black, attended a U. S. Capitol breakfast for NNPA publishers, commemorating Black Press week, shaking hands, passing business cards and congratulating NNPA on its 65th anniversary. But, at the breakfast, sponsored by the RNC, Wall still declined to say how much the RNC spent with black newspapers, while noting that much of the money was allocated for urban radio, which does not necessarily mean black-owned media.

RNC Chairman Mehlman has refused to return repeated phone calls although his RNC communications staff said they were working on the NNPA interview request almost a month ago.

According to the CRP report, the DNC frequently spent triple that amount on purchases with media production and advertising firms. For example, the DNC spent $918,394 on one purchase with Malchow, Schlackman, Hoppey & Cooper Inc. for media productions last July, according to the report.

The CRP numbers were compiled based on DNC and RNC reports to the Federal Elections Commission on Feb. 27.

While NNPA publishers called the DNC amount piddling given that nine out of 10 black people usually vote Democratic, they also expressed disappointment that RNC leaders would spend little or nothing; plus withhold their amounts, while claiming to value the Black Press.

“When you look at the Republican National Committee and the fact that they did not do any substantial advertising in the black newspapers, I think what that speaks to is the fact that we have to do a better job of building relationships with them so they understand the value of the Black Press and what it brings to the table,” says NNPA Chairwoman Sonny Messiah-Jiles, publisher of the Houston Defender.

John “Jake” Oliver Jr., publisher of the Afro-American Newspapers and former NNPA president, says both parties have simply failed to listen.

“They’re being ill-advised. They’re seeking their media advice from bogus sources who attempt to hold themselves out at being experts at how to deliver an affective message to the African-American community when time and time again has shown they don’t know a thing about it,” Oliver says. “They’re asking the wrong people. They’re relying on the wrong people. The leadership of those parties fail to basically take the steps to figure out exactly what is the most affective way. And they fail to listen to the presentations that are being made and not only buy the black media – particularly newspapers – but also go into the community and find out what is it that is basically motivating the people the most. And they’ll find that black newspapers get the most trust than anything else.”

“I enjoyed the breakfast that they paid for. I enjoyed meeting with both of my Republican senators from Texas. However, I am very concerned that they have not spent any money with the African-American press in America. And it would be my wish that they would support the African-American press and also to help us to get our fair share of the millions of dollars that the government spends nationally,” says Dallas Examiner Publisher James Belt.

“I’m not only disappointed in the efforts of the Republican Party, but I am very disappointed in the efforts of the Democratic Party to make sure that the African-American press has got the fair amount of business from the DNC and these other governmental agencies,” Belt says.

Political scientists say the low spending with black media have separate meanings for the parties.

David Covin, a political scientist at California State University, Sacramento says the Republican behavior is rooted in a historic ''solid South'' mentality that aims to maintain a lock on southern White voters.

''One of the things the solid South means is that you can not court the black vote. You cannot do it publicly. You can do it in back doorways,'' says Covin, president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. ''Almost nobody covers the Black Press convention, so they can be there and nobody will even know about it, so they don't have to worry about alienating their base. And still they can make inroads into the Black Press.''

As for the Democrats, “It could be just a presumption, again, that they’re going to sew up the black vote,” says Katherine Tate, professor of political science and Afro-American Studies at the University of California at Irvine. “Or, they may not be aware of the mobilizing factor media coverage brings in terms of increasing the turn out.”

Bay State Banner signs agreement with Boston Globe on diversity supplement

(March 29, 2005)
On April 3, The Boston Globe will publish Diversity Boston, a special advertising supplement focused on employment issues of importance to the region's black, Hispanic and Asian communities. African Americans represent 28% of the city of Boston's population and Latinos represent another 14% of the population.

In an effort to increase distribution of the supplement to a diverse audience, BostonWorks, the recruitment services division of the Boston Globe, has signed an agreement with the Bay State Banner, a weekly newspaper serving Boston's African-American and English-speaking Latino communities. The award-winning publication, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the principal advocate for these communities in Greater Boston and throughout the state.

The Bay State Banner will distribute Diversity Boston in its issue of April 7, giving BostonWorks an added distribution of 30,000 copies. Melvin Miller, publisher of the Banner, will write an editorial in support of the arrangement in that issue of the Bay State Banner.

"Partnering with BostonWorks on Diversity Boston just made sense," said Mr. Miller. "Diversity Boston offers both content and employment opportunities of interest to our readership. Combined with our reach, it was a winning solution for both parties."

Milwaukee's black newspapers call for boycott of Kohl's Dept. Stores again

By Tannette Johnson-Elie
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

(March 8, 2005)
After getting Home Depot to advertise in African-American newspapers, and pressuring Office Depot and T-Mobile Wireless to do likewise, black newspapers have a new target: Kohl's Department Stores.

Kohl's is the target of a boycott orchestrated by Kimber, Kimber & Associates, a Fresno, Calif., advocacy advertising agency that represents 250 black-owned newspapers across the country.

The purported offense: Kohl's practice of excluding black newspapers from its print media buys. The Menomonee Falls-based retail chain channels its print advertising buys mostly to mainstream media that enable it to reach the largest audiences.

A group of black publishers now calls this practice discriminatory and demands that Kohl's do like other companies that have been targeted and cough up millions of dollars in print ad buys.

Since late November, the Milwaukee Courier, The Milwaukee Times and The Milwaukee Community Journal, Milwaukee's three black-owned weekly newspapers, have been running full-page ads urging black consumers not to shop at Kohl's as part of a nationwide effort organized by Kimber.

"Our (black) publishers see this as a civil rights movement for ad dollars and their survival," says Mark Kimber, chief executive officer of Kimber.

This strong-arm tactic succeeded with Home Depot and Office Depot. Home Depot has launched a $4.7 million advertising campaign with African-American newspapers, said Kimber. According to Ethnic Newswatch, it's the largest such campaign that anybody has done. After it was charged with discrimination by Kimber, Office Depot now spends more than $1 million annually on print advertising with black papers.
Click here to read entire Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article


Ethnic Print Media releases preliminary data from national newspaper study

(Jan. 10, 2005) Preliminary results from the first nationwide readership study of the top 110 African American newspapers uncovers the powerful role African American newspapers play in their ethnic community, announced Gemstone Communications, Inc. and its newspaper ad sales division Ethnic Print Media Group.

The proprietary readership study of African American newspapers shows: 

- 66% of readers cite their African American newspaper as their Primary or Only source for local news and community event information

- Only 12% subscribe to a daily newspaper

- 72% frequently purchase products or services as seen in their local African American newspaper

"Our new proprietary research shows the power of our newspapers in reach, relevance and importance in the African American community,"  said Ethnic Print Media Group/ Gemstone Communications Vice President Trevor Hansen.  "For marketers and agencies looking for the touch points to effectively reach the African American market, our newspapers provide the forum and editorial environment for strong brand messaging."

The large-scale circulation audit and readership study will be completed next month.  The readership study will include interviews with more than 15,000 readers of 110 African American community newspapers across the United States. 

Demographic and qualitative readership data will include such topics as: travel plans, future purchases of cars, furniture and electronics, as well as insurance, health and financial interests. The independent research is being conducted by Circulation Verification Council.

The Wave Newspapers seeks to restructure debt owed to development bank

(Dec. 29, 2004) Wave Community Newspapers Inc. has filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles. The company is the nation's largest African-American-owned newspaper publisher, with black and Hispanic papers totaling more than 150,000 in circulation.

According to company officials, the bankruptcy filing was prompted by repayment demands and other disputes that The Wave was having with its primary secured lender, Los Angeles Community Development Bank. LACDB was established after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles to assist minority businesses and spur economic development by providing loans. Beginning in 1999, The Wave, under its previous owners, began receiving loan from the LACDB, which ultimately totaled some $4 million.

The bank itself became a victim of mismanagement went into bankruptcy and Valley Economic Development Center was charged with collecting the bank's debts.

In 2000, The Wave Newspapers was acquired by Equal Access Media whose CEO is Pluria Marshall, Jr. Marshall told Target Market News that the company has repaid about $1.3 million of the loan and was making monthly installments of $30,000 per month. The Wave was trying to restructure its re-payment plan, but Marshall said Valley Economic Development refused to do so.

“We had been negotiating with the LACDB for over a year when it was placed into receivership.” Marshall said. “The receiver, who was charged strictly with collecting LACDB’s obligations, did not have the same goals as the LACDB. They had no interest in job creation or the development of inner-city empowerment zones. We are committed to solving the issues at The Wave and we will exercise those options under the supervision of the court."

Marshall added that the bankruptcy filing is not a reflection of the company's current fiscal condition. “The business is profitable from a profit and loss standpoint,” he said. “The reorganization will not result in any significant changes in operation for The Wave.”

The Wave plans to pay "about a seven figures portion of the debt" by selling the building where the company was formerly headquartered, according to Marshall. The plan must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Roberto Barragan, president of the Valley Economic Development Center, disputed Marshall's version of the negotiations, telling the Los Angeles Times that The Wave had ignored a request for repayment.

“The Wave plans to emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a comprehensive restructuring of its debt as expeditiously as possible,” said Marshall in a statement. “Pending completion of its reorganization, the company intends to operate its business without significant disruptions and pay all necessary operating expenses.”

'Oakland Post' being charged with illegal dumping of printing ink

(Dec. 19, 2004) According to a story appearing in the "Alameda Times-Star," the Alameda Publishing Corp, which publishes the "Oakland Post," is being charged by San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris with illegally dumping hazardous printing ink in a black community. The felony charges names Victor Martinez and William Araujo with transporting and disposing of the ink.

Investigators found some 40 five-gallon containers of ink dumped in the Bay View neighborhood. Martinez headed the former printing plant for Alameda Post Newspaper Group. Araujo was hired in the summer of 2003 to dispose of the ink as the printing facility was being closed. Alameda switched its printing to outside contractors.

Prosecutors said investigators learned that Alameda had secured an estimate from a hazardous material disposal company but didn't hire the firm because they thought the price was too high. Fines for the illegal dumping could be as high as $100,000 a day for the containers were at the site.

Paul Cobb, whose company, The Good News Is, LLC purchased the Post Newspaper Group from Alameda just two weeks ago, said he knew nothing about the dumping and would cooperate with the investigation.
Read The Alameda Times-Star article

The 'Oakland Post' is purchased by activist and former columnist Paul Cobb

(Dec. 16, 2004) Well known community activist, Paul Cobb, has purchased the Post Newspaper Group, including the 39-year-old Oakland Post weekly newspaper, from its founder for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction was concluded last Friday when Cobb's company, The Good News Is, LLC, bought the paper's assets from Alameda Publishing. The black weekly was started in 1965 by prominent Oakland lawyer Thomas L. Berkley and his wife Velda Berkley. Since her husband's death three years ago, Velda, 84, has been publisher and sole owner.

“I feel very comfortable and very pleased; I think he is going to carry on our legacy,” said Berkley. “It’s like losing a child, but due to my age I could see that it was the end of an era and time for some fresh blood,”

Cobb has a long history with the Post. He first worked for the paper two years after its founding and went on to become its religion editor and a Sunday columnist. In between his tenure there, he headed the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal and was a mayoral appointee on the Board of Education.


“I feel humbled by the opportunity to serve; reflective on my start with Tom Berkley and the Berkley family as well—I’ve known them for 45 years—I’m proud to be a part of the tradition,” said Cobb.

The Post Newspaper Group will continue distributing its free editions in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and Richmond areas. Cobb also hopes to make El Mundo, the company's Spanish language newspaper, the premier Latino paper in Northern California. He is seeking investors for both El Mundo and the Post.

Cobb said he first wanted to buy the paper in the early ‘70s, when he was part owner of the California Voice, but was denied. And even though he was laid off twice by Thomas L. Berkley from his post as reporter, and laid off once by Velda Berkley from his position as religion editor, he is thrilled to be back: this time as the owner.

“I think the name of the corporation that owns the paper embodies our philosophy: The Good News Is. The good news is the Post is still going to be here. The good news is that you have ownership of the Post that believes in it. The good news is that it’s somebody who cut their teeth with the paper. I started with the Post as a cub reporter 40 years ago, and I am still committed. The good news is that you have ownership that is committed to extending the historic accomplishments of Thomas L. Berkley and Velda Berkley,” said Cobb.

One of Cobb's first moves as new publisher was to name Gail Berkley executive editor of the Post. “We must move posthaste to increase advertising, develop an interactive website and establish multimedia links. I look forward to working with the other publishers in the area to develop strategies to increase our share of advertising dollars or we will be just a postscript,” said Cobb.

'Our Weekly' to debut next month as a free black weekly paper in Los Angeles

(Dec. 3, 2004) "Our Weekly," a new weekly newspaper dedicated to the African American communities of Los Angeles, will debut in January 2005 with a free circulation of 50,000.

Headed by Natalie Cole and David Miller, the South Los Angeles-based will be distributed Thursdays door to door in Ladera, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, View Park, Leimert Park, LaFayette Park Square, North Inglewood, Mid-City and surrounding communities. The paper will also available through convenience stores, grocery stores, and various retail & service outlets throughout the community.

The founders of the publication say it was born out of the need for a news source that directly addresses the topics and issues facing African Americans and their communities. "The evolution of 'Our Weekly' is a classic example of discovering a need that has gone unfulfilled and developing a plan of action to fulfill that need," said Natalie Cole, owner and CEO of the new venture.

The management team is composed of former senior managers from "The Los Angeles Times," "L.A. Weekly," "L.A. Daily News," "The Los Angeles Wave" and "Recycler Classifieds." They bring over 65 years of combined publishing experience to the new organization.

"Our Weekly" will feature coverage at the local, state and national levels that is important to African Americans and the communities in which they live. Content will include news, lifestyle sections, health, wellness, art, entertainment, business, careers, education, real estate and a comprehensive classified section.

 


 11th Annual Edition Available

'Buying Power' report reveals surge by black households for consumer electronics

Despite tighter economic times, African-American households are significantly increasing their expenditures on consumer electronics for the home, according to the newest edition of The Buying Power of Black America report. In many categories such as video games, televisions, CD players, cable TV service and sound equipment, black households are spending more on average than their white counterparts.

According to the 103-page report, black households had $656 billion in earned income in 2003, an increase of 3.9% over the $631 earned in 2002.

Read more and see the latest expenditure figures for black consumers


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