The Afro has a storied history and an evolving future that is just as bright as its past. The paper was founded in 1892 by a former slave, John H. Murphy, Sr., when he merged his church publication “The Sunday School Helper” with two similar publications in Baltimore. The newspaper is one of the oldest remaining family-owned newspapers in the U.S.
Currently, John Jacob “Jake” Oliver, the great grandson of the Afro-American’s founder, is the CEO of the newspaper. A graduate of Fisk University and Columbia University School of Law, Oliver left a promising legal career in corporate America to return to the family business.
Under Oliver’s leadership, the Afro has been able to remain relevant by being the first Black newspaper to continue to print hard copies, as well as to be fully digital—being assessable on the Internet. If you want to know what’s going on in the Black community within the D.C. metro area, the Afro is a must read.
Oliver has continued down the path of relevance by hiring a dear friend, Avis-Thomas Lester as his new executive editor. She spent over 20 years as a writer for the Washington Post. She will bring a new, fresh perspective to the newspaper and position it to continue to be relevant to our community with the full understanding that we are living in a global marketplace.
Under Oliver and Lester’s leadership, the Afro will again branch out to bring news from throughout the world, especially from the continent of Africa. As they begin to cover news from a global perspective, hopefully this will lead to increased readership on the Internet and an increased subscriber base.
Within the Black community, we often complain about how we and our African brothers are portrayed in the media. Well, now we have a chance to do something about it. For as little as $40 a year, the Afro will have the money to report on global issues.
If you want to see our community covered in a different manner, let’s commit to finding 1,000 people between now and September to take out a subscription to the Afro and other NNPA newspapers. If after a year you don’t like the coverage, then cancel the subscription; but if they meet your liking, renew your subscription.
We have to be what we are looking for. If we want fair, diverse coverage within our community, then we must enable those who best know how to do this to have the money necessary to fulfill this goal. Remember, when all is said and done, there is more said than done.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website, www.raynardjackson.com.