By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
(NNPA) – Part 2 in a series.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association of the 230-plus Black-owned newspapers and media companies that comprise the Black Press of America, is poised to observe the 195th anniversary of the birth of Freedom’s Journal and the Black Press.
An informative and entertaining convention kicks off at the Hilton Riverside Hotel on June 22 in New Orleans with the theme, “195 Years of the Black Press: Amplifying our Voices for Freedom, Justice, Equality, and Equity.”
NNPA Newswire has embarked on four-part series featuring some of its most dedicated consumers ahead of the convention.
In Part II, they’ve asserted what they’d like to see from the Black Press today and in the years and decades ahead.
“I would like to see the Black Press continue moving and growing forward,” said Joni King, who has championed NNPA’s live morning show, Let It Be Known, since its inception in January 2021.
Artist Jacoby Jelks, who once appeared on an NNPA livestream, wants the Black Press to expand to other mediums.
“From now on, I would like to see the Black Press continue to grow. This could be in the form of owning television stations, podcasts, digital apps, media companies, and marketing solutions to guarantee visibility that challenges the outdated mainstream’s longstanding narratives that are sometimes stereotypical when concerning black culture,” Jelks stated.
Michelle Madison, who subscribes to BlackPressUSA.com, said the onslaught of social media has made it challenging in many ways, “with more and more people receiving much of their news via the internet.”
However, Madison offered her belief in a “two-fold method.”
“First, there needs to be a contrived effort to attract people to purchasing, subscribing, and reading actual newspapers,” Madison insisted.
“Second, there needs to be a focus on addressing those that rely mainly on social media for their news. Based on my own informal research, many baby boomers and millennials seldom purchase newspapers.”
“Typically, these groups are more inclined to subscribe to an online news service. However, I know of people in the age range of 50 and older who purchase newspapers and support Black media.
“However, that group is waning. The Black Press must make a concerted effort to attract them. Also, the readers should feel that their voice is being heard. I believe that this could be achieved by proactively incorporating millennials and generation X into the editorial content and staff of Black newspapers.”
She concluded that the Black Press “must aggressively seek advertisers and subscribers that are not afraid to hear the truth, according to Black people.”
Subscriber David Youngblood added that the Black Press should employ younger reports and storytellers of all ages.
“I would like to see more voices challenge my progressive beliefs,” Youngblood asserted. “I would like to see more history lessons and more interviews with members of Congress.”
Youngblood encouraged the Black Press to continue efforts to bring subject matter experts on programs like Let It Be Known.
“I’d like to see a brief feature of each newspaper every day where they tell us what’s in the news in their specific city,” he said.
“Not just crime and violence, but local good news with local people.”
Entrepreneur Ashley King said she’d like the Black Press to include other marginalized voices in its coverage.
“Particularly other races and those with disabilities,” King stated. “I would also like for us to highlight more positive stories of those in the majority that help, support, and propel the Black voice,” she stated.
Chenadra Washington of the Washington International PR Firm admitted that it wasn’t until recently that she discovered the value of the Black Press.
“I am 35, and I texted a few friends, and they didn’t know anything about BlackPressUSA,” Washington said.
“With that, more brand awareness is needed, especially for generations younger than me.”
For decades, Isiah Gamble said he’d been a consumer of such Black Press jewels as The Amsterdam News, Philadelphia Tribune, and the AFRO.
He said he’d passed that appreciation down to his grandchildren, who regularly peruse the pages of the Black Press.
“I feel sorry for those who say they don’t know the Black Press,” Gamble remarked.
“I feel sorry because they should be ashamed. The Black Press is an institution like no other.
“Sure, having younger voices move in is always a good idea for any business, but if you’re paying attention to the Black Press and not the hustle and fake stuff put out by other news organizations, you’d know that the Black Press speaks to all of us, young and old, male, and female, poor and wealthy.”
“I believe the one-piece missing is that the Black Press should look into being more visible at events like the Essence Festival, the Jamaican and Puerto Rican parades, and even going over to Europe and sharing their stories there.”
The NNPA’s convention and the celebration of the 195th anniversary of the Black Press is open to the public. For great hotel rates and tickets to some of the signature events at the convention, visit https://www.nnpa-events.com/