Black Newspapers Challenge ‘Philly Daily News’

By: Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press Writer

(AP) Six black newspapers have launched a joint advertising campaign to promote the region’s black press, following a boycott of the Philadelphia Daily News over allegations of racial insensitivity.

The campaign is the latest reaction to an Aug. 22 Daily News cover story about 41 people — all black, Hispanic, or Asian — wanted on murder charges. The story featured more than a dozen mug shots of minority suspects, and did not mention that there were no at-large white murder suspects being sought by Philadelphia police.

The newspaper apologized for the story, but several black activists, church leaders, and others have been calling for retailers in black neighborhoods to stop selling the Daily News, which relies heavily on street sales.

A. Bruce Crawley, who runs a city advertising and public relations firm and is helping organize the ad campaign, said the controversy reminded the black newspapers that black readers might be looking for an alternative perspective.

Among participants in the black press promotion is The Philadelphia Tribune, the area’s largest black newspaper and the nation’s oldest continuously published black newspaper. The others are The Philadelphia New Observer, The Philadelphia Sunday Sun, Black Suburban Journal, Scoop, and Neighborhood Leader.

Daily News Editor Zack Stalberg denied that the paper is racially divisive and said he believes the black newspapers are just using the controversy to promote business. “To me, it looks like they’re using this opportunity to see if they can get some commercial advantage out of it,” he said.

Stalberg also said the boycott, which is separate from the ad campaign, has had no measurable impact on advertising, circulation, or reporters’ access in the black community, which he estimates makes up about half the paper’s approximately 150,000 daily readers.

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