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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What’s the Future of the Black Press in Detroit?

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Image credit: Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

Keith Owens of the Michigan Chronicle discusses the future of Detroit’s black press.

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Stephen Henderson meets with Keith Owens, new editor of the Michigan Chronicle, about the future of one of the oldest black-owned newspapers in the U.S. and Michigan. The key points:

  • History of the paper: Owens says that the Michigan Chronicle, which began in 1936, started as an alternative paper to contrast with the anti-abolitionist coverage of the Detroit Free Press, which was mainstream at that time. He says the mission of the Michigan Chronicle has always been to inform and uplift black communities.
  • Moving forward: Owens says the future of the paper lies in keeping up with technological changes in the industry. He says having as much online real-time reporting as possible is important in this digital age. He says the Chronicle aims to create an even stronger voice for Detroit communities and that in this day and age, the paper is hardly alternative, given that Detroit’s black population is now the majority.
  • Defining the new Detroit: Owens talks about how the black population needs to participate in conversations about Detroit’s regrowth. He says that neighborhoods are in just as much need of increased stability as Downtown and Midtown Detroit. He hopes a more integrated approach to development will lead to fewer black families being displaced in the process of redefining Detroit.
  • Paradise Valley 2.0: The Michigan Chronicle is returning to the Paradise Valley neighborhood. Owens hopes this will bring back other black businesses to what was once a business district and entertainment center for Detroit’s African American population.

Click the audio link above to hear the full discussion.


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