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Black Newspaper Investors Buy Majority-Owned Chicago Weekly Paper

Dorothy Leavell, the fiery and fearless chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader newspapers, announced that she has led a group in purchasing the “Chicago Reader.”

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Contributor

Dorothy Leavell, the fiery and fearless chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader newspapers, announced that she has led a group in purchasing the “Chicago Reader.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s a historic purchase that brings the alternative newspaper with an audited weekly circulation of about 85,000 into the NNPA family of 220 African American newspapers and media companies.

The paper had most recently been owned by the Chicago Sun-Times, which reportedly will maintain a 15 percent stake in the Reader after the sale closes later this month.

“I see this as an opportunity to enhance the value of the Black Press through the [Chicago Reader],” Leavell told NNPA Newswire. “It is [now] definitely Black-owned.”

Sun-Times CEO Edwin Eisendrath joined Leavell at the Rainbow PUSH Convention in Chicago to first reveal the sale.

“We love the Reader and have worked hard to be sure it has a foundation for the future. All of us at the Sun-Times are thrilled that the Reader’s future is in such good hands,” Eisendrath said.

Such a marriage perhaps had less than a small chance of being consummated 25 years ago when the Reader staff poked fun at the NNPA and Leavell after Civil Rights Leader Nelson Mandela failed to attend a Black Press convention when he toured America after being released from prison in 1993.

In an article headlined, “Black Press Feels Neglected,” the Reader noted how Mandela found time for Ted Koppel, The New York Times and The Washington Post, but not the NNPA, which held its annual convention in Chicago at that time.

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