The digital world offers people the opportunity to reinvent themselves. Anyone who has ventured into the world of online dating can speak to the creative ways individuals reimagine themselves through profiles that speak more to aspirations and desires rather than reality. But does the Internet offer companies, organizations and institutions this same opportunity? Can McDonalds suddenly become a five-star gourmet restaurant offering artisan cheeses, specialty meats and exotic ingredients despite its brick and mortar fast food franchises that are ubiquitous across the United States? Can the University of Phoenix become Harvard University simply by calling itself such? Alternatively, can a Black newspaper decided one day that it will no longer be a Black paper? If so, what does the paper become? What processes are involved in this transformation?
Over a year ago the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) released a new marketing video produced by Logan Coles Sea Change Entertainment. — The video is extremely well-done and beautifully captures the history and future of the Black Press. The problem is that relatively few people know about the video. Presently the video has less than 200 views on Youtube. I am, of course, not under any impression that the video would go viral like the latest Beyonce video. Still, the Black Press has been and continues to be at the core of the African American experience. In this sense, the video merits greater attention, particularly from the academic community. The question, then, is how does the NNPA get the word out and make Black newspapers relevant to new generations of Black people in the United States?
Soon after Barack Obama was elected as the forty-fourth President of the United States, the POLITICO reported that his presidency would dramatically change Black newspapers. This initially seemed to be the case. A few short months after the inauguration, President Obama gave Black Enterprise his first print interview and invited 50 Black publishers to meet with him at the White House. Overnight journalists from Black news publications had unprecedented access to the White House. Black Press organs predicted that an Obama presidency would allow their papers to return back to the “roots” of Black journalism and their core mission. In short, the Black Press would become “newsier” again. 1
- 1. Rachel L. Swarns. Obama Brings Flush Time for Black News Media http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/business/media/28press.html
Nia-Malika Henderson. “Obama Brings First for Black Press.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16894.html ↩