The new black times

At last week’s National Newspaper Publishers Association convention in the US, it was announced that the New York Times company will be starting an African-American newspaper in Gainesville, Florida.

Writing in the Chicago Defender, George E. Curry, head of and regular media commentator, offers the Times a few home truths:

“Black publishers freely concede that anyone has the right to start a newspaper. That is not the issue. What is so galling is that White-owned media companies that have done such an embarrassingly poor job of accurately portraying people of colour on their pages and broadcast outlets are now seeking to supplant the only legitimate Black media voices that have performed that task admirably for more than a century. It is arrogant and ridiculous to think that newspapers that primarily portray African-Americans as criminals, athletes and entertainers will suddenly be able or willing to present African-Americans in their full complexity.”

Curry says that that the main reason behind the move is financial due to declining newspaper circulation over the last decade. Furthermore, he writes:

“Equally culpable are companies that refuse to advertise in Black-owned media but are willing to place ads with White-owned publications, broadcasts and Internet outlets targeting African-Americans. They should be publicly exposed and boycotted. In fact, every Black newspaper should identify them each week so that African-Americans will be able to support only corporations that respect and support them.”

Gawker gives the thumbs-down to the proposal: “Forgive us, but it’s positively absurd to insinuate that the Times doesn’t accurately portray people of colour. Why, just today, the paper’s ‘black coverage’ included fraudulent leaders in Darfur, angry soldiers in Florida, and Bill Cosby’s infidelity.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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