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Newspaper Faces Boycott for Ignoring Barack Obama
Terrell Tribune’s Response, Rudeness Common Media Card Played on African-American News/Issues
"We run a newspaper, not a memory book service. We covered the local commissioner's race. We thought that was more important."
– Statement issued to Black residents about not running a front page story in post election edition announcing President-Elect Barack Obama victory.
TERRELL- “What we thought was more important” is the typical response from many White-owned and corporate run newspapers to African-Americans when it comes to deciding on what is news in the African-American community
The Terrell Tribune is the latest so-called news operation to make that grave mistake.
However, this time, Black residents in Terrell are not allowing the paper to get away with it and plan to make a clear statement that rejecting Black interests and Black concerns is going to cost them. They are organizing a large boycott of the White-owned newspaper.
“We have planned and started a boycott of the Terrell Tribune in Terrell Texas,” said Mitchell Duncan. “We are going door to door, phone to phone and email to email, businesses to businesses and asking (people) to cancel their subscriptions or we will stop doing business with them.”
The boycott intends to send a strong message that Black history and news is important and will not be disrespected, disregarded or tossed out with the trash.
“The Terrell Tribune made a personal decision to print local elections coverage, while every newspaper surrounding the area and in all other states covered (President-Elect Barack Obama) on the front pages and various stories even within the paper,” he said. “The Terrell Tribune did not.”
According to Duncan, The newspaper, the news paper has not placed any information in its newspaper showing or acknowledging Obama’s even winning of the election.
In spite of all the criticism surrounding the issue, publisher Bill Jordan and his editor Allison Walker, are doing nothing to address this issue or work with the Black community.
“This was a defining moment in history recognized by the world,” Duncan said. “We have not received a story about his winning the election nor the result numbers. This is truly an embarrassment to our community as well as to all the voters that participated in this historical election.”
More tragic in this dispute is the attitude of the publisher and editor striking out at its subscribers and customers as though their inputs are insignificant.
The suggestion that Blacks consider the newspaper as a “memory book” is condescending and talks down to African-Americans in a negative way – something that has raised the ire of local activists, pastors and community leaders.
“Their statement is arrogant, rude and ridiculous,” said Lera Duncan. “Their attitude toward us was wrong, is subtle racism and this issue is far from over.”
Duncan, 75, was part of a group of civil rights activists who took on social and civil rights issues in the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in changes in government and education in the city of Terrell.
“What they are saying to us is Black news is not important and Black history is even less important,” she said. “Terrell should not be too old to remember how we fought for equality here in this town we fought here. They think we have fallen asleep but we haven’t.”
Duncan adds that it is not the first time the Terrell Tribune did not print an important African-American story.
It took numerous complaints before the newspaper ran a story on actor and Terrell native Jamie Foxx winning the Oscar.
“Foxx was contacted and responded as being very displeased that his own home town news paper would not cover the major accomplishment – The "OSCAR", the super bowl trophy of Hollywood for actors,” he added.
“We would appreciate any and all persons to call and express their concerns to the Editor Allison Walker and the Publisher Bill Jordan at 972-563-6476,” Duncan said.
In an age of economic slowdown, reduced advertising revenues and dropping sales and new subscription, it is good to know that the Terrell Tribune has enough funds in its coffers that it can ignore Black reader concerns and mistreat Black people and Black dollars.
“We want them to respect Black history and the Black community,” Lera Duncan said. “They control the community by controlling the news and continue to choose to ignore us. They only recognize the negative news in the Black community.”
The Terrell Tribune owes it Black readers and supporter an apology for its poor treatment and its stubborn failure to listen.
However, the LoneStarPowerPages frankly takes this time to thank the Terrell Tribune for giving us part of its readership.