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Hunter-Miller Group
Nia Enterprises
Nielsen Company
R. L. Polk
Radio One
Starcom MediaVest Group
U.S. Census Bureau
...and more

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 Black Stats          
Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $744 Billion (2006)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing $121.6 bil.
 - Food $59.2 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks $32.1 bil.
 - Clothing $27.7 bil.
 - Health Care $17.8 bil.

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Black newspaper publishers resort to creativity to keep doors open

By Pharoh Martin
NNPA News Service

(July 7, 2009) When the economic downtown grew steadily cold two years ago, newspapers across the country began shutting their doors -- permanently. It could have been a travesty for black-owned newspapers, but sentiments from African American publishers and executives are that it's hard to miss what one never had.

Therefore, in interviews at the National Newspaper Publishers Association's annual summer conference in Minneapolis June 24 through June 28, publishers told their creativity in making ends meet.

"The downsizing of the economy didn't affect us as much as some of the larger papers because we didn't have enough staff in the first place," said John Smith, general manager of the Chicago Crusader. "We were affected because our advertising revenue was down a bit but we did not feel it as much as daily papers. So other than a little less revenue, it was business as usual."

Black newspaper publishers are competing for the same scarce advertising dollars as their white counterparts. Yet, they have remained resilient despite a deep recession. Still, the Black Press has lost series revenue.

Some NNPA publishers said their newspapers have lost as much as 40 percent of advertising dollars. The National Newspapers of America reports that the total drop in all ad revenue in the third quarter of 2008 was half of that number at just below 20 percent.

James Belt, advertising manager of the Dallas Examiner, said that everybody is hurting but the first advertising that gets cut back is typically the African American press. Like many newspapers across the country he had to cut back and downsize on things they have historically done.

"We just hang on as long as we can," he said. "If you don't have the ads, you don't print the pages. You just don't print what you don't have."

Kris Bennett, co-publisher of the Seattle Medium Newspaper Group, which owns four newspapers and four radio stations, keeps a positive outlook about working through the economic slump.

"It's been some difficult times but it's not a place that we as black publishers haven't been before," he said.

Typically, when the economy is bad, business is good for publishers because advertisers spend money trying to get customers back into their stores, Bennett said. But this time, that hasn't been the case because everybody has been trying to hang on to their purse strings.

Therefore, black publishers have resorted to creative advertising packages for some of their local community-based organizations and businesses.

"We had to rely on the community that's been relying on us for so many years to help balance our budgets that we would've lost from losing some of our major advertisers," Bennett said.

As a result, Bennett said that his company did not have to make any staff cuts.

Brenda Andrews-Brooks, publisher of the New Journal and Guide in Norfolk, Virginia, said that the downsized economy didn't really hurt her company all that much either.

"A positive about downsized economy is that it forces you to think creatively and go back and rely on the community in a different kind of way, which is actually the way it should be anyway because that's the reason why we are in business," she said.

As a small community newspaper, Andrews-Brooks' limited staff already had the experience to multi-task. The 109-year-old newspaper was fortunate enough to be able to hold onto all of their advertisers.

"We have some loyal advertisers that have been supportive," she said.

The New Journal and Guide recently formed a partnership with a local gospel radio station to enlarge their coverage for their faith community and to do some co-op advertising their advertisers can place ads in a variety of media.

Andrews-Brooks' newspaper did not have to let anybody go. If fact, she said she hired a new person to her staff.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for every company.

Jim Washington, publisher of the Dallas Weekly and president and general manager of the Atlanta Voice, was forced to make more drastic cuts. He laid off staff at his Atlanta newspaper and cut salaries in Dallas to make ends meet.

"The issue was do you maintain the salary or do you cut people?" Washington said. "To be quite frank, I put it to a vote."

Al McFarlane, president of Mc- Farlane Media and founder of Insight News in Minneapolis, forecasted the change in the economy and made calculated adjustments that streamlined his company to almost half.

"We took the advice of our financial counselors and knew that as the economy shrank it would have an impact on our business so we began to shrink our company from 20 down to about 11 people," he said.

His circulation of 35,000 weekly copies stayed intact.

When many of their local advertisers scaled back their ad purchases, Insight News made two key moves. They reduced their ad prices and, in some cases, gave more for old prices. They diversified by focusing more on promotions and creating alternative revenue streams like enhancing their website and producing a weekly radio show.

Amelia Ashley-Ward, publisher of the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company in San Francisco, kept her company afloat by putting out special edition issues of their newspapers. Special edition issues included inauguration, back-to school and black history themes.

"You can sell more ads and charge your premium rates because they are reaching out to specific markets and community," she said.

Washington leaned on health and government budgets.

"We've seen some up tick this year," Washington said. "They have gotten some up tick in health care and governmental business because those are the only entities that still have ad budgets. Even though they have also slashed their budgets they still have the mandate to spend money in order to reach the taxpayer. So that's how we've been surviving."

The next step for many black newspapers is to transition effectively into the digital age. But, the process has been measured for some and an uncertainty for others.

"The big change is that we are reconfiguring how we see ourselves," McFarlane said. "When we started, we saw ourselves as a weekly newspaper. The world is changing."

McFarlane concludes, "So now, we are not only a newspaper. The newspaper is a smaller part of what we do. We have to see ourselves as a 24-7 information system that includes several platforms such as social marketing networks, the website, the newspaper, radio, video conferencing. So we have to reconfigure that we are not just a newspaper that only edits and prints on Thursday deadlines but a system that launches information all day, everyday. That's the difference."

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Congratulates the
Recipients of the 2009

Advertising Executive
of the Year

FUSE Advertising

Media Executive 
of the Year
President. Broadcast
Media Sales

Marketing Executive
of the Year
Multicultural Marketing Manager
Ford Motor Co.

Research Executive
of the Year
Executive Vice Pres.,
Director of Cultural Identities
Starcom Mediavest  Group

Public Relations Executive
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President / CEO

Lifetime Achievement Award

TV One


Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture

By Erin O. Patten

Hip-Hop culture has had a profound impact on marketing in the past two decades and it provided an intersection for brands, sports, and popular culture. Erin O. Patton documents this impact in his new book, Under the Influence--Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation's Impact on Brands, Sports, & Pop Culture. 

Adam Graves, senior vice president of Deutsch Advertising says of Under the Influence and Patton: "If there are any marketers out there that still think they can ignore the urban market they'd better think again...This isn't just a book for so-called urban marketers; this should be mandatory reading for every marketer in the country."

Click here to order