- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Sun-Reporter: First and Still Fighting in San Francisco

NCM Profile

NCM, Peter Micek Posted: Apr 14, 2004

With a big party in a downtown hotel, attended by comedian Dick Gregory and actor Danny Glover, San Franciscos first African American newspaper celebrates its 60th anniversary this May.

But publisher Amelia Ashley-Ward is more excited by the upcoming addition of a color kit to the printing press. Were taking the paper into the modern age, she says.

The Sun-Reporter has a weekly circulation of 11,000, sent by delivery truck and mailed to newsstands and mailboxes in San Francisco, the East Bay and out of state. Stories are updated each week on the newspapers Web site, www.sunreporter.com.

The papers mission has always been to plead the cause of the people and be a champion for the people, says Ashley-Ward.

In 1944, Dr. Carlton Goodlet won rights to the new Sun newspaper in a poker game. He had invested in the just-founded Reporter, San Franciscos only black newspaper, and combined the two.

Goodlet worked alongside his best friend since 1935, Thomas Fleming, founding editor of the Reporter.

In the 1960s, the Sun-Reporter bought an Oakland-based black paper, the California Voice, and launched seven weekly Metro Reporter newspapers, expanding the Sun-Reporter's reach throughout Northern California.

Dr. Goodlet was publisher until 1994. When he died in 1997, San Francisco officially renamed the block in front of City Hall Carlton Goodlet Place. Fleming retired when the paper moved in 1997 from the Fillmore District, near his apartment, to the Bayview District.

As a college student, Ashley-Ward interned under Dr. Goodlet, and returned at his behest in 1978 after graduation. The rest is history, she says.

The paper was larger when she joined in the late-1970s, Ashley-Ward says. Many advertisers like Emporium have since left town. When she arrived, there were many more local businesses advertising, especially supermarkets, she says.

Today the paper has a mix of national and local advertising. In the past 18 months, ads are down about 20 to 30 percent, Ashley-Ward says, not just at the Sun-Reporter but across the board.

Many of the papers core readers have also left town. Redevelopment and increased housing prices in the city have driven out many African Americans, according to the publisher. Theyve moved where they can afford to live, she says.

Ashley-Ward says she loves hearing from readers, though her audience is not into sending letters.

They call and kind of fight with us, she says with a chuckle, if we take a stand they dont like on certain propositions, certain candidates. We like that -- it shows they are reading our paper.

The papers readership is concentrated in African American communities, Ashley-Ward says, and is 54 percent female, with an average age of 41 years old. Almost half are married and over half have college educations. Readership has remained steady over the years.

By publishing three times a week and delivering all over Northern California, Ashley-Ward says, the Sun-Reporter, California Voice and Metro Reporter reach a little further than competitors. The Voice, which has been around for about 85 years, is the oldest black paper west of the Rockies, she says. It is published on Sundays and distributed mainly to black churches around the Bay Area, as well as to black businesses.

The Sun-Reporter Publishing Company currently has 15 full- and part-time employees.

When she took over the Sun-Reporter in 1997, Ashley-Ward says, We dealt with a lot of murders and mayhem.

The tone has since changed. In response to feedback from readers, the police blotter was removed and crime coverage was moved away from the front of the paper about 10 years ago.

Dealing with issues to help our readers make sound choices about the things that affect their day-to-day lives, is how she sums up the current approach. Coverage of local politics and voter empowerment measures are high on the list in this election year. There are also more community features and profiles than before.

Weve done a lot of things to enhance the paper's look and presentation and were happy, says Ashley-Ward. As hard as it is to always push forward, you have to.

The papers mission has not changed. We tell it like it is. We fight to try to keep the programs and issues like fair housing and affordable homes, she says. Right now were fighting school closures in the community.

With new color printing and a star-studded anniversary party in May, she says, the paper will soon show its supporters its here to stay.

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

NAM Profiles