Civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Franklin Chavis Jr. sat down for an exclusive interview with Zenger News to discuss the future of the black press.
“Some people say that millennials don’t read. And that’s not true. They do read,” said Dr. Chavis. “They’re looking for in-depth analysis, in-depth information.”
“And to the extent to which the Black community, through the Black press, can provide information, I welcome the return of millennials to the Black press,” he said.
Dr. Chavis was an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and now serves as the CEO and President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade group for African American newspapers. He spoke to Zenger on Feb. 28 in National Harbor, Maryland.
“We come out of the print world, but now we’re in the print world, the digital world and the social media world,” Chavis explained. “And I think that these media platforms are not mutually exclusive.”
“Today, in 2020, we have 230 African American-owned newspapers. We’ve upgraded all of our websites. We have the largest now Black-owned digital network in the United States,” he said.
“So the future looks bright and we’re always looking for the right partners to help us further innovate, to distribute the content that we have.”
Chavis said he’s optimistic about the youngest generation of news consumers.
“We have 25% increase in Black readership among millennials,” he said. “I’m optimistic because I see young people have a hunger and thirst for information that will improve their quality of life.”