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African American Media: Evolving in the New Era

By Emily Guskin, Paul Moore and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The ethnic media play an important role by providing news in both foreign languages and in English about places and issues that are often absent from the mainstream media.  This year, to provide greater depth, we are issuing reports on different groups at different times.

First, releasing the chapters on different ethnicities separately gives each individual ethnic medium a singular focus.  Also, the timing fits more naturally with the release of data sets.  This way, we can provide the reader with the most up-to-date information instead of the previous year’s.

The first report, here, focuses on African American media.

The African American media in 2010 mirrored the kinds of challenges and changes that mainstream news organizations also faced.  Most African American media outlets either began or planned to upgrade their digital enterprises in an effort to reach new audiences. But beyond that, it was a mixed year for the sector.

“Overall, it was a year in which people were trying to catch their breath… [trying to] move forward… try[ing] to survive and wait[ing] for the economy to rebound,” said media columnist Richard Prince.1

But some also think that with the experience of years of struggle, the African American press is remarkably resilient.2 “The African American press will continue to have to reinvent itself to provide quality, relevant coverage during an era when readers want more information more quickly, and advertisers want a return on their investment more clearly defined,” said Neil Foote, a senior lecturer at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism. “Since general market media has been severely hit by declining ad dollars, black media has been hit even harder.” 3

Newspapers

Slightly less than a third (30%) of African Americans report getting most of their national and international news from newspapers, according to a December 2010 Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey, a number similar to Americans overall (31%). In addition, 86% of blacks receive most of their news from television and 35% who use the internet for news. (Two responses were allowed.)4

Within that 30%, African American papers compete with other print outlets, both mainstream and niche.  There is no firm count of how many African American newspapers survive. Allied Media Corp., an ethnic marking firm, lists 250 newspapers, though some may be defunct. The largest industry group is the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America, which counts 200 black-owned newspapers as its membership. None of the African American newspapers print daily editions any more. Most are weeklies, and at least one publishes three times a week. A few are using the web actively, particularly to reach younger readers.

In 2010, the fortunes of these papers varied. Some produced growth in circulation by launching targeted zoned editions designed to fill in what they perceived as diminished coverage from mainstream press whose newsrooms were shrinking. Other papers suffered circulation declines, at least in part in comparison to circulation spikes a year earlier associated with President Obama’s inauguration and the death of Michael Jackson. And in one city, the owner of one paper bought his former rival publication and now operates both.

SEE FULL DATA SET

But some argue the numbers alone do not tell the full story.

Many who operate these newspapers see themselves as a voice for their communities. “Our circulation may not be the strongest, but people are reading us, and people care what we say,” said Elinor Tatum, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the New York Amsterdam News.5

And like many of those in the ethnic press, they see a vital role, too, in covering news missing in the mainstream media. “It’s news you can’t really get anyplace else,” said Jake Oliver, the editor of the Afro American.6

But a continuing challenge, African American publishers argue, is persuading major advertisers that African American newspapers are a place to reach black Americans. Danny Bakewell Sr., who publishes two papers in Los Angeles and is the chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, was frustrated that the NBC television network, for instance, did not use African American papers to advertise two shows on the network that featured black stars, Undercovers and The Event. “The real issue is advertising…. It really is a function of getting black newspapers in front of major advertisers and trying to create a meaningful partnership with them,” he said.7

Certainly some African American newspapers saw gains in 2010.

The Washington Informer, a free weekly newspaper that serves the Washington, D.C., metro region, enjoyed third-quarter circulation growth of 5.4%, to 18,695, up from 17,739 in 2009.

One reason may be that the Informer has put an emphasis on creating partnerships with other ethnic news media. It now shares coverage with a local Spanish-language newspaper, Washington Hispanic, on such issues as health care and financial literacy.

“African Americans and Hispanics need to find a way to bridge whatever communication gaps there are.  Whenever we can work with Washington Hispanic, we do,” said the Informer’s advertising and marketing manager, Ron Burke.8

The Informer also has a twice-a-week show on DCTV cable access, which examines many of the issues covered in its newspaper.9

Another paper that had circulation gains in 2010 is the Afro American, which also serves the Washington market and is the oldest black newspaper in the city.

The key for the Afro is that it launched a new targeted edition in nearby Prince George’s County, Md., in May 2010. The Prince George’s County edition carries some of the same content as the D.C. edition of the paper, but its Page One coverage is tailored to the suburban community.

Largely as a result of local expansion, the Afro American’s Washington edition showed a circulation increase in 2010, up 9.4% compared with the same period in 2009.

The circulation of the Baltimore edition of the Afro American, by contrast, declined 4.4%, to an average of 6,923 for the six months ending September 30, 2010, down from 7,244 for the same period in 2009. The paper is planning to launch a suburban edition in surrounding Baltimore County in 2011 to try to duplicate the results in Washington.

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Baltimore County has grown in the last decade, which could help the Afro American’s effort. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans made up about a quarter (25.3%) of Baltimore County’s population in 2009, which was 5.2 percentage points higher than in 2000, a growth of almost 50,000 people.  At the same time, the median household income also grew in Baltimore County to $63,348, up 25% from $50,667 in 2000.10 “The massive migrations out of the inner city over the last 10 years have created pockets…of black communities [where they weren’t before],” Oliver said.11

But even with the expansion, the Afro had a challenging year, particularly in advertising revenue. “The first quarter was devastating for us,” Oliver said. “Come March everything stopped cold.  We always do O.K. during Black History Month [February], but there was nothing.  No advertising on any level.” He attributed the decrease to the overall economic conditions.12

Advertising picked up in midsummer. Much of the spending came from national advertisers and local political campaigns. “I’m optimistic, but…disappointed that it’s not happening at a faster pace,” Oliver said.13

One area of intense focus for the Afro is its web-based offerings. It sends out a series of e-mail blasts each day, a weekly wrap-up and toward the end of 2010, a special sports e-mail feed that covers local NBA and NFL teams, games played by historically black colleges, and high school sports. The Afro also tweets live sports coverage at @AfroNewsLive.  And it is working on an iPhone app to work in conjunction with its e-mail blasts.

The newspaper’s biggest online project in 2010, Oliver said, was putting the paper’s archives online, which were posted released in January 2011.14

The paper worked in partnership with Google to scan a large percentage of the newspaper’s past editions, dating as far back as the early 1900s.  Oliver hopes that people can use the online archive, not only for research but also to just explore.

“The gift of a Google search capability makes it easy,” Oliver said.15

The newspaper continues to monitor online readers to better understand its audience.  The most popular stories on the site, according to audience data, tend to be those focused on black celebrities and sports figures. But Oliver says the newspaper’s biggest obligation is still “to give them news, real news.”16

One paper suffered a sharp drop in circulation in 2010. The Amsterdam News, one of the largest businesses owned and operated by blacks in New York, suffered a drop in circulation of nearly one half from 2009 to 2010.  For the six months ending September 30, 2010, the New York Amsterdam News had an average circulation of 9,750, a 44% decline from 17,477 for the same period in 2009.17

SEE FULL DATA SET

That number maybe somewhat misleading. Publisher and editor-in-chief Tatum attributed the decrease to two “extremely significant events in the African American community” in 2009, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the death of Michael Jackson, that gave circulation figures an artificial rise.18

Souvenir copies of editions, according to Tatum, helped boost sales of the paper from an average of 11,958 in 2008 to more than 17,000 in 2009. With no similar events in 2010, Tatum said that she had expected the numbers to decline. But not all of the drop may be a onetime event. The 2010 figures are still lower than in 2008.

On the other side of the country, two competing papers came under the same ownership. The Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles’ oldest subscription-based African-American newspaper, bought the free L.A. Watts Times in June 2010.

The Watts Times, a tabloid-sized paper, was started after the August 1965 riots, originally focusing on just that community.  In 1976, it became the L.A. Watts Times when it expanded its coverage to all of Los Angeles County.19

Publisher Danny Bakewell Sr. said he planned to keep the Sentinel and Watts Times as separate weekly publications.20

Bakewell said owning two newspapers gave him the ability to expand his audience, but he worries that the subscription model might become obsolete. “The fact that [The L.A. Watts Times is] a free paper gives us a broader capacity to deal with distribution,” Bakewell said, “The question is, what is the remaining life of a paid newspaper?”21

Circulation figures for the paid paper are no longer obtainable because the newspaper stopped subscribing to the audit service.  Bakewell said the papers would be under a new auditing system soon.

To boost sales for the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Sentinel runs ads in the Watts Times, and the company distributes the free paper in more affluent areas.   Bakewell also plans to increase the newspapers’ social media aspects. “We want to make sure we’re communicating on all of the different platforms,” Bakewell said, and he added, “We want to make sure we’re blogging, at least daily, even though our paper is weekly.”22

African American Wire Services and Press Organizations

One other event relating to African American media is worth noting: The black press had a new place to turn to for content by the end of 2010. Hazel Trice Edney, the former editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, established the Trice Edney News Wire in November.  The wire provides news stories, reports and opinion articles to black-owned or black-oriented newspapers, radio stations and websites. The wire service provides several syndicated columnists, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, and Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League.

In its first month and a half, 60 mostly media outlets had signed on for subscriptions, which cost $100 monthly, $500 for six months or $1,000 for a year. This was twice the number the agency had projected it its business plan.  The news wire also sends breaking news articles to more than 1,000 news agencies via e-mail. “Newspapers are hungry for this content,” she said, “Not just because it’s black, but because it’s from Washington and because we have access to this administration, to this Congress and others.”23

She plans to market the wire service to other news outlets besides those owned by African Americans.  While the service has potential, it is too early to determine how successful it has been so far.

Trice Edney’s former employer, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America, bulked up its website in 2010.  Danny Bakewell Sr., the chairman of the association and publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times, said the organization planned to start blogging to provide more opinion writing and would reorganize its leadership in 2011. “We see this as a very promising time for us,” Bakewell said.24

Another black media group, the National Association of Black Journalists, already reorganized its leadership in 2010. That association named the former deputy director of the National Bar Association, Maurice Foster, as its executive director. Foster succeeded Karen Wynn Freeman, who resigned in 2009 after a no-confidence vote by the board of directors.25 The black journalists association, according to published reports, ended 2010 with a surplus of more than $191,000, a reverse from a deficit of $338,901 at the same time in 2009.26

Magazines

Another important sector of African American media is magazines. The universe of black magazines is increasingly diverse, but among those that contain some news coverage, five publications dominate — Ebony, Jet, Essence, Black Enterprise and Uptown.27

Only one of these five, a new lifestyle magazine called Uptown, geared at affluent readers, showed growth in readers and ad pages in 2010. The other four — including the largest black-owned magazine publisher — dropped in circulation. The advertising picture was more varied.4

SEE FULL DATA SET

Much of the attention during the year was focused on Johnson Publishing, the owner of Ebony and Jet. Both publications had drops in circulation and ad pages and both made major management changes during the year.

Both Ebony and Jet struggled in 2009 with declines in circulation and number of ad pages. Despite significant overhauls, the picture only got worse in 2010.28

At Ebony, a general interest monthly magazine, ad pages dropped by 11.2% in 2010.29 Circulation declined by 14%, for the six months ending June 30, 2010, to 1,114,849, down from 1,301,760 during the same period the previous year.30

Jet, a small-format weekly news and entertainment magazine, had even more drastic decreases. The number ad pages dropped 22.6% in 2010.31

Circulation fell 12% to 762,250 for the first six months of 2010, compared to 868,983 the same period the year before.32

SEE FULL DATA SET

To curtail these continuing losses at its signature magazines, Johnson Publishing instituted a series of significant changes in management during the year. The biggest involved the hiring of former White House social secretary Desirée Rogers as CEO and the resignation of president Anne Sempowski Ward. The company also sold its historic building in Chicago in November 2010.

There were editorial changes at both magazines, as well. At Ebony, Harriette Cole, the creative director and acting editor-in-chief, left. The former deputy editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, Amy DuBois Barnett, was then hired as editor-in-chief.33 Darhil Crooks, the art director at Esquire, was hired as creative director at Ebony.34

And at Jet, editor-in-chief Mira Lowe resigned in January 2011.35

Click here for a more detailed list of some key changes.

One problem is that the magazines’ readers skew older (Jet’s average reader is 37 and Ebony’s 41). As a result, the company is looking to expand its base through more social media and interactive tools, and introduced an iPad app in October.36

Rogers also wants to market the company’s Fashion Fair cosmetics line to other women of color and to revive the Fair itself, which was canceled last year.37

At least one observer thinks the moves might work.  “[Johnson Publishing] seems to have a new spirit about them.  They’re not just sitting there idly,” said media columnist Richard Prince.38

Other critics, though, feel Johnson Publishing still does not have a clear direction. “It has to stake a claim to transition from solely a ‘publishing company’ to a multimedia company, positioned to reach audience in print, on air, online and via mobile/smart phone/tablet,” said Neil Foote, a senior lecturer at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism.39

Another magazine that made changes in top management in 2010 was Essence – and with much greater success.

Ad pages in Essence increased 12%.40 Circulation in 2010 was down slightly, 2.4%, to 1.07 million, relatively steady from 1.09 million the same period the year before.41

As the year came to a close, Angela Burt-Murray, the magazine’s editor-in-chief for the past five years, left. In her time at Essence, she created the magazine’s first news section, hired both its first Washington correspondent and its first Africa bureau chief.42 Sheryl Tucker, who took a buyout as an editor-at-large at Time Inc. in 2008, was brought back as interim editor.43

That was not the only personnel change at Essence that made news. Earlier in the year, the magazine hired Ellianna Placas, a white woman formerly with The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly, as its new fashion director. Michaela Angela Davis, the onetime editor-in-chief of Honey, a black fashion magazine, criticized the decision on Twitter, which resonated among a number of readers.

“I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience,” Burt-Murray told the New York Post, “However, I selected [Placas], who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand.'44

By year’s end, Placas remained in place and the controversy was making less news.

Another magazine in the sector that enjoyed a better 2010 was Black Enterprise, a magazine geared toward African Americans in the business world. The number of ad pages sold increased 12.1%.45

Circulation was more difficult. It declined 10% in 2010 to 476,968 subscriptions for the six months ending June 2010, compared to 527,655 in 2009.46 The magazine released an iPad app in August 2010.

There are also two newer magazines that have recently become major players nationally in the African American market, and both enjoyed some gains in 2010.

JONES Magazine, which began in 2005, increased its circulation in 2010 because it expanded from a regional publication based in Houston to a nationally published magazine.  JONES focuses on fashion, food, travel and home design. As of January 2011, audited circulation data was not available.

Vibe Holdings LLC, which owns both Vibe and Uptown magazines, gained both a new investor and chairman in early 2011. In February, Magic Johnson Enterprises and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. agreed to invest in Vibe Holdings, installing former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson as company chairman.47 In the deal, Robert Miller, who cofounded Vibe, became chairman of the Vibe and Uptown magazine group.48

This comes after Magic Johnson was unable to reach an agreement to purchase Johnson Publishing last year.49

Uptown magazine grew in circulation significantly in 2010, even before Johnson’s investment. The magazine, a niche publication geared to affluent black readers in Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, Charlotte, Detroit and Philadelphia, enjoyed a 37% increase in circulation in 2010. Its total circulation remains far smaller than the other four African American oriented magazines examined here (209,998 versus 1,066,482 for Essence and 1,114,849 for Ebony). Still, its success in 2010 spurred the magazine to increase its publication schedule from six to eight issues per year starting in March 2011. The magazine also decided to devote additional pages to local content.50

SEE FULL DATA SET

In December 2010, the company announced that TV personality Star Jones was joining the magazine as editor-at-large.

Vibe Holdings’ other magazine and namesake, Vibe, briefly ceased publication in June 2009. InterMedia Partners purchased the hip-hop magazine’s assets in August and brought the magazine back in December.51

The new version now has a focus beyond music, but it published only four times in 2010 and had a smaller paid circulation guarantee at 300,000, compared to 600,000 when it closed.

“We have a smaller cost basis and a lot of emphasis on digital,” Leonard Burnett Jr., co-CEO and publisher of the magazine, told AdAge.52

Ad page numbers could not be obtained for Vibe for 2010.

Digital

The digital divide between whites and other ethnic groups is narrowing. A number of different indicators show African Americans and Hispanics turning to the internet in higher percentages than in years past.

An estimated 71% of African Americans use the internet, according to a Pew Internet & American Life survey conducted in May 2010. This still trails whites (80%) and Hispanics (82%), but closes the gap more.53 Emarketer data show young African Americans’ time spent on the internet has almost caught up to time watching television.

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More than a third of African Americans (35%) said they get most of their news on the internet, according to December 2010 data from the Pew Research Center, making it the second-most-turned-to source, after television, for news and just 6 percentage points behind whites.54

Moreover, 42% of African Americans who were on the internet the day before said they had gathered news online, nearly on par with white respondents (43%).  This number took a leap from April 2009 when only 32% responded affirmatively.55

SEE FULL DATA SET

African Americans are more socially active online than other ethnic groups. While these data do not predict online news consumption directly, they show that African Americans are active online:

SEE FULL DATA SET

SEE FULL DATA SET

Among the most prominent news websites geared toward African Americans, many are owned by large media corporations:

Television

An overwhelming 86% of African Americans turn to TV for most of their news, compared to 64% of white respondents and 66% of Hispanics, according to a December 2010 Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey.  But black-oriented TV news programs have been rare and few have long staying power. In 2010, though, the largest cable channel geared toward an African American audience jumped back into news.

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In October, BET, the most popular network geared toward African Americans with an average of 506,000 viewers, launched Weekly With Ed Gordon.64 It is in the style of a Sunday morning political talk show and is shown at 11 p.m. on Sundays. BET’s last attempt at a weekly news series, the Truth With Jeff Johnson, was created to cover the 2008 presidential election and premiered in August 2008. The show was pulled off the channel after the election in November of that year.  According to senior vice president for news, Keith Brown, BET executives felt that it was important to have a weekly news presence on BET, and Weekly With Ed Gordon was created.65

“African Americans are disproportionally affected by [what our country is facing today],” Brown said. “And it is important to have a forum to discuss these issues… from an African American perspective.”66

When the show began in September, it aired at noon, but BET soon moved it to Sundays at 11 p.m.  The show was already airing in repeat at 11 p.m., and, according to Brown, garnering higher ratings.67

Guests on the program have included African American political analysts, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Profit for BET overall climbed in 2010 to $259.4 million, an 8.8% increase from $238.5 million the year before.68

SEE FULL DATA SET

Another black-geared cable station, TV One, also has a political talk show.  Washington Week with Roland Martin airs at 11 a.m. on Sundays, filling a more traditional time slot than the BET program. The program also attracts guests from Washington’s political scene, including the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and columnists, reporters and political analysts.

TV One had its second consecutive profitable year in 2010: Making a profit estimated at $22.6 million, a 135% increase from $9.6 million in 2009.69

SEE FULL DATA SET

And a new network, half owned by an African American, started in 2011 when the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) debuted with great fanfare. The new cable channel, which took over what had been the Discovery Health channel, is geared to women ages 25 to 54.70 Discovery will retain 50% ownership of the station, while Winfrey’s production company, Harpo, will control the other half. Unlike BET or TV One, OWN is aiming for a general audience.  Still, it is one of the few television channels that is at least partly owned by an African American.71

Under the details of the split ownership, Discovery gave Winfrey the channel and $100 million in startup cash while Winfrey provided her brand name, her library and Oprah.com. Christiana Norman, formerly of MTV and VH1, was hired to run the network.72

For its first year, the station plans 600 hours of original programming and another 600 hours of acquired programming.  The station is focused on shows that aim to embody Winfrey’s philosophy of “live your best life,” including Master Class, a show that profiles famous people and features Winfrey in every episode, a behind-the-scenes show about her existing talk show, and a documentary series about Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Syndicated repeats include Dr. Phil’s show and reruns of the Oprah Winfrey Show.73

Discovery Communications announced in early January that it expected the channel to be profitable in its first year. OWN had a particularly strong showing of viewers its first weekend, about 770,000 viewers during its first half hour and 1.2 million watching prime-time episodes of Oprah’s behind-the-scenes show.  Programming that did not feature Oprah herself did not fare as well, though.74

These new programs may be coming at the right time. In 2010, African American cable subscriptions rose slightly to 61% from 59% in 2009. Subscription rates for cable fell for all other ethnic groups measured in the same time period.75

SEE FULL DATA SET

Radio

In African American radio in 2010, at least two programs went off the air and the largest black broadcaster emerged from financial problems.

Despite black radio’s relative popularity, most African Americans do not use it to receive news. Only 9% of African Americans used radio to get most of their news, according to a December 2010 Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey. Twice as many whites (18%) got most of their news from the radio and 12% of Hispanics did the same.76

The dominant radio company in black radio, Radio One, reached a refinancing agreement with its lenders in November 2010 after falling out of Nasdaq listing compliance in September. Radio One owns or operates 53 radio stations in 16 urban markets in the United States and has interests in TV One and Reach Media, which is the parent company for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which reaches nearly eight million listeners every week on more than 100 affiliates. Reach also owns Black America Web.

Radio One was notified by Nasdaq in September that its stock had fallen below the exchange’s minimum of $1 per share for 30 consecutive business days and was given 180 business days to bring it back up. By the second week of November, Radio One had succeeded in doing so.77

For the nine months ending September 30, 2010, Radio One had a $4.8 million profit, compared to a loss of $26.2 million during the same period in 2009. But the third quarter of 2010 was not nearly as profitable as the third quarter in 2009. For the three months ending September 30, 2010, Radio One had a profit of $6.9 million, compared to $14.5 million for the same period in 2009.78 Still, the company was doing much better compared to the losses it suffered in 2008.

SEE FULL DATA SET

A handful of smaller African American news radio shows failed in 2010. One program was UpFront With Tony Cox, a daily news and talk show produced by the African-American Public Radio Consortium. The show, which aired in 17 markets across the country, ended on May 14, 2010, because of lack of funding.79

One of the few black voices on Boston radio, Jimmy Myers, also lost his Sunday show in 2010 when the station that aired the program changed its format for weekend programming.

Despite his status as one of the few black radio personalities in Boston, Myers saw himself differently. “I’ve never considered myself a black broadcaster.  I’ve always been a broadcaster who happens to be black,” he told the Boston Herald.80

African Americans: Making Sure We’re Not Silent

From early 2009 to early 2010, PEJ did a study on the coverage of African Americans in the mainstream press.  As a group, African Americans attracted relatively little attention in the U.S. mainstream news cycle that year.  The coverage focused more on specific incidents rather than broader issues and trends affecting blacks in America.

This relatively low level of mainstream media coverage suggests to many an opportunity for growth in the market served by the black media.

“There will always be an appetite and a market for [the black press],” said media columnist Richard Prince. “People tend to see things that they don’t see anywhere else.  And just as important, they’re written with the point of view that people can relate to.”81

“For too long, others have spoken for us,” said Hazel Trice Edney, who runs the Trice Edney News Wire. “I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  Even with a black administration, the president can’t speak for all of us.  We need ‘presidents’ on each block.  Black media will continue to thrive as that voice and to fill those historical voids that still exist.”82

People turn to his papers, said Danny Bakewell Sr., who publishes two papers in Los Angeles, because they give those readers perspectives on the news that no one else will give. He said, “People buy black newspapers for a very simple reason: We want to see ourselves…. In terms of getting a perspective of what’s happening in the world and how we’re playing into that, that becomes the epic value of the black press…. We’re making sure we’re not silent.”83

Endnotes

  1. Prince, Richard. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 17, 2010.
  2. This report includes both African American-owned publications and those owned by people of other ethnicities. PEJ attempts to include as many news sources that are aimed at a black audience as possible.  According to Dr. Clint C. Wilson, a professor of journalism at Howard University, “The definition of African American media used by most scholars encompasses outlets that are (1) at least majority owned by African Americans, (2) operated and produced by a majority African American staff and (3) targeted for the African American audience. Examples of outlets that do not meet these criteria are Essence magazine, the Root and Black Entertainment Television.”
  3. Foote, Neil. E-mail to PEJ. Jan. 10, 2011.
  4. “Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source.” Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Jan. 4, 2011. Political Survey. Q: How do you get most of your news about national and international issues?  Because the question asks for two responses, the total adds up to more than 100%.
  5. Tatum, Elinor. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 4, 2010.
  6. Oliver, Jake. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.
  7. Bakewell, Danny. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.
  8. Burke, Ron. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 23, 2010.
  9. Burke, Ron. E-mail. Nov. 24, 2010.
  10. Baltimore County, MD Demographics.
  11. Oliver, Jake. Interview with PEJ. Jan. 18, 2011.
  12. Oliver, Jake. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publisher’s Statement: Amsterdam News.
  18. Tatum, Elinor. Interview with PEJ. Feb. 9, 2011.
  19. Crowe, Deborah. “ ‘Sentinel’ Owner to Buy ‘Watts Times.’” Los Angeles Business Journal. June 10, 2010.
  20. Bakewell, Danny, Sr. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Trice Edney, Hazel. Interview with PEJ. Dec. 7, 2010.
  24. Bakewell, Danny, Sr. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.
  25. Prince, Richard. “NABJ Chooses Bar Association Figure as Executive Director,” Journal-isms, Nov. 19, 2010.
  26. Prince, Richard. “NABJ Is $191,000 in Black, Reversing Deficit.” Journal-isms. Jan. 7, 2011.
  27. There are other niche black or urban publications with large circulations such as music magazines, XXL, The Source and Hip Hop Weekly, as well as women’s magazines Heart & Soul and Sister 2 Sister.
  28. Kinsman, Matt. “Johnson CEO Expects Jet, Ebony to Return to Rate Base in 2011.” Folio Magazine. Nov. 22, 2010.
  29. The Association of Magazine Media.
  30. Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publisher’s Statement: Ebony.
  31. The Association of Magazine Media.
  32. Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publisher’s Statement: Jet.
  33. Prince, Richard. “Ebony Names New Editor-in-Chief.” The Root. June 2, 2010.
  34. Prince, Richard. “AP Spurns Appeals to Save Intern Program.” Journal-isms. Dec. 8, 2010.
  35. Prince, Richard. “Mira Lowe Resigns as Jet Editor.” Journal-isms. Dec. 14, 2010.
  36. Marek, Lynne. “Johnson Publishing CEO Rogers Discusses Plans for Ebony, Jet.” Chicago Business. Oct. 4, 2010.
  37. Ibid.
  38. Prince, Richard. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 17, 2010.
  39. Foote, Neil. E-mail to PEJ. Jan. 10, 2011.
  40. The Association of Magazine Media.
  41. Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publisher’s Statement: Essence.
  42. Prince, Richard. “Editor Angela Burt-Murray Leaving Essence.” Journal-isms. Nov. 5, 2010.
  43. Kelly, Keith J. “Burt-Murray Leaving Essence.” New York Post. Nov. 5, 2010.
  44. Kelly, Keith J. “Some See Red as Essence Hires a White Editor.” New York Post. July 28, 2010.
  45. The Association of Magazine Media.
  46. Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publisher’s Statement: Black Enterprise.
  47. Adams, Russell. “Magic Johnson, Yucaipa Invest in Vibe.” Wall Street Journal. Feb. 10, 2011.
  48. Pulley, Brett. “Magic Johnson Takes Stake and Chairman Post at Vibe Holdings.” Feb. 9, 2011.
  49. Ibid.
  50. Alvarez, Alex. “Uptown Magazine Increases Circulation.” FishbowlNY. Nov. 8, 2010.
  51. Rodriguez, Jayson. “Vibe Magazine Folds.” MTV.com. June 30, 2009. And Ives, Nat. “New Owners Relaunch Vibe With Chris Brown Cover.” AdAge. Nov. 2, 2009.
  52. Ives, Nat. “New Owners Relaunch Vibe With Chris Brown Cover.” AdAge. Nov. 2, 2009.
  53. Usage Over Time.” Pew Internet & American Life Project. May 2010.
  54. Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source.” The Pew Research Center for People & the Press. Jan. 4, 2011.
  55. Usage Over Time. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  56. Usage Over Time. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Ibid.
  59. Smith, Aaron and Rainie,Lee. “8% of Online Americans Use Twitter.” Pew Internet & American Life Project. Dec. 9, 2010.
  60. Jeff Johnson Joins MSNBC as Contributor and TheGrio.com as Senior Correspondent Based in Washington, DC.” Press Release. Dec. 7, 2010.
  61. ComScore data. Jan. 7, 2010.
  62. The Root Media Kit.
  63. Coyle, Jake. “Huffington Post to Add African-American Section.” Associated Press. Jan. 19, 2011.
  64. BET Networks Posts Another Blockbuster Year in Ratings, Marking 2010 the Best in Network History.” Press Release. Dec. 23, 2010.
  65. Brown, Keith. Interview with PEJ. Jan. 4, 2011.
  66. Brown, Keith. Interview with PEJ. Jan. 4, 2011.
  67. Ibid.
  68. SNL Kagan Financial Profiles: BET.
  69. SNL Kagan Financial Profiles: TV One.
  70. Stelter, Brian. “Oprah’s Network Is Her Highest Hurdle.” New York Times. Dec. 18, 2010.
  71. Prince, Richard. “Oprah’s Debut Advances Black Media Ownership.” Journal-isms. Jan. 2, 2011.
  72. Stelter, Brian. “Oprah’s Network  Her Highest Hurdle.” New York Times. Dec. 18, 2010.
  73. Stelter,Brian. Oprah’s Network is Her Highest Hurdle.” New York Times. Dec. 18, 2010.
  74. Stelter,Brian. “A Profit Is Forecast in the First Year for Oprah’s Network.” New York Times. Jan. 4, 2011.
  75. Umstead,Thomas. “African-Americans Counter Cord-Cutting Trend: Horowitz Study.” Multichannel News. Nov. 21, 2010.
  76. Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source.” The Pew Research Center for People & the Press. Jan. 4, 2011.
  77. Radio One Gets Delisting Notice.” Radio Ink Magazine. Sept. 23, 2010. Radio One extended the exchange offers behind its refinancing several times, but eventually reached an agreement with its lenders in early November, paving the way for its compliance with Nasdaq.
  78. Securities and Exchange Commission. Form 10-Q: Radio One, Inc. For the Quarterly Period Ended Sept. 30, 2010.
  79. UpFront with Tony Cox.
  80. Heslam, Jessica. “WTKK Cuts Off Jimmy Myers’ Mike.”Boston Herald. Nov. 10, 2010.
  81. Prince, Richard. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 17, 2010.
  82. Trice Edney, Hazel. Interview with PEJ. Dec. 7, 2010.
  83. Bakewell, Danny Sr. Interview with PEJ. Nov. 22, 2010.