New Annapolis Paper To Present 'Positive Stories' About Blacks

September 17, 1991|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Staff writer

Joy Bramble bristles when she speaks of the black people she sees onthe TV news and in the papers.

"We're constantly seeing ourselvesportrayed as murderers, rapists, dope addicts," she says.

"After awhile, blacks start to think that maybe that's the truth,that that's what most blacks are like."

But Annapolis' newest newspaper, The Annapolis Times, will offer a decidedly different view, says Bramble, the publisher of The Baltimore Times, who started its sister paper here last week.

Simply put, in the words of the Annapolis weekly's 16-page promotional edition, the paper will provide "positive stories about positive people."

"I think it's very important to show that there are black people leading successful lives," says Bramble, who quit her job as a teacher at a Baltimore high school for delinquent girls to start the weekly Baltimore Times five years ago.

"We just don't feel that the black population has been representedfairly."

Bramble says the free paper will regularly feature blackpolitical, business and community leaders, as well as columnists writing about minority issues.

The paper also will include minority-oriented calendars, a religion section and listings such as engagements, marriages and obituaries.

Weekly publication is to begin in October, and 5,000 copies will be distributed every weekend in the Annapolis area, Bramble said.

She said she hopes to boost circulation to 10,000 within two or three months. The Baltimore Times started witha circulation of 5,000 and now distributes 50,000 papers a week.

Except for local columnists and Associated Press wire stories, the Annapolis paper is written, edited and produced by The Baltimore Times'21-member staff. Bramble said she hopes to set up shop in Annapolis soon.

The paper's first edition carries stories on black leaders' plans to turn the old Bates High School into housing and a community center, a feature about the black Seafarers' Yacht Club and profiles of black leaders, including the city's assistant police chief, JosephS. Johnson.

The paper also includes a business section and a feisty editorial page that will not shy away from controversial subjects,Bramble promises.

The debut issue, for example, includes an editorial that dismisses as "whitewash" a City Council review of Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins' July decision to authorize a city ambulance to take the governor's longtime companion, Hilda Mae Snoops, to Baltimore on anon-emergency run.

While praising Alderman Samuel Gilmer, D-Ward 3, for asking "pointed questions" about the breach of city policy, the editorial charges that the committee's other two members "failed miserably to live up to their civic responsibilities."

Bramble said that rather than trying to compete with the daily press on breaking stories, the Times will strive to provide more perspective and in-depth coverage of minority issues.

But, she adds, "I'd like to build apaper so our readers don't need any other paper. Minority papers arealways thought of as an addendum to other papers. Well, we don't want to be just an addendum."

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, said a minority-oriented newspaper is long overdue in Annapolis, where blacks are a third of the population.

"It's important to have that additional perspective on the black community," Snowden said. "I'm delighted to see this paper starting, and I'm really very excited aboutits possibilities."

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