Separate but equal


The New York Times is planning to launch a weekly newspaper targeting a largely black community in Gainesville, Florida. This seems a bit odd from the titan of liberal newspapers. After all, segregating the reading public in this way smacks of a world view that is usually not found in much of the rest of the Times.

But profiting from segregating communities is okay? At least, Latino—orientated papers can say that they need separate papers for language reasons. Besides, this move by the mighty Times will hurt independently—owned small black newspapers, where many journalists have been able to develop their journalistic skills.

The New York Sun reports
The New York Times Company is planning to launch a weekly newspaper in a largely black community on the east side of Gainesville, Fla., next month, raising concerns among several black journalists and publishers who say that the Gray Lady's new paper will divert revenue from black owned papers.

Industry watchers said that the paper, which will be called the Gainesville Guardian, comes as part of a broader trend of mainstream media giants wading into ethnic niche markets. Knight Ridder and Tribune Company both recently rolled out Spanish—language newspapers. But by specifically targeting black readers, the Times' Gainesville venture may be unique, according to media analyst John Morton of Morton Research in Silver Spring, Md. "I offhand can't think of another conventional newspaper that has created a product oriented to a black population," Mr. Morton said.

The editor in chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, George Curry, whose service provides wire copy to more than 200 black papers, said that the Times' venture "is going to divert ads that would have gone to the black media."

Blacks in the area are already served by the Florida Star, based in Jacksonville, 70 miles northeast of Gainesville, and Mr. Curry said that the Times' venture could pose a threat to the Star. However, Mr. Morton said that since the Guardian will focus almost exclusively on the 15,000—person East Gainesville community, "it won't have a big effect on a regional black—oriented newspaper." [snip]

Also, the Times already has a daily newspaper that covers the city, the Gainesville Sun.

Ed Lasky   7 11 05