Promoting African-Americans' good news is newspaper's aim

Insights editor says `niche' is Anne Arundel churches

April 04, 2000|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

It doesn't take long for stacks of the newspaper Our Insights to disappear from churches throughout Anne Arundel County.

Eager readers are quick to grab the tabloid, devoted to "promoting good news from the African-American communities along the Chesapeake Bay," as soon as they arrive every other Tuesday. The paper is where people find out what's happening in the community, express their views and read about their friends.

"The key is to find your niche," said Joyce Black, editor and publisher. "Our niche is with the churches and nonprofit groups."

The newspaper quickly found its audience. Before the first issue came off the presses in October, Black had logged 100 subscriptions at $18 each. That number now exceeds 520, and the goal is to double that by the end of the year. On average, 2,500 copies are distributed throughout the community.

A feature story about Anne Arundel County School Superintendent Carol S. Parham, who received a racially tinged death threat March 21 after her decision to bus elementary pupils from south county to Annapolis is planned for today's issue. The FBI has begun a civil rights investigation into the matter, and Parham has been under county police guard since March 21.

True to the paper's mission, the story will not center on the threat or the issues surrounding it. Rather, Black said yesterday, it will focus on positive community response -- ranging from a reward fund that has topped $21,000 to pastors leading prayers for Parham. Carl O. Snowden, a special assistant to the county executive and one of the first subscribers, attributes the paper's success to two things: the community calendar that lists church and organization events and the coverage of those events. "The paper covers stories that larger newspapers can't or don't want to," Snowden said. "People look forward to reading it."

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