today in black history

July 23, 2024

Civil unrest over the city's condition ignites Detroit in 1967, resulting in 43 deaths, 7,000 arrests and $50 million in damage.

Why NorthStar?

POSTED: December 03, 2008, 12:00 am

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Our mission is simple – to provide news and information from a perspective that is relevant to the experiences of Black people in this nation. It is our pledge to do so by adhering to the highest standards of journalism, taking particular care to be objective in our reporting, fair in our editorial position and open to diverse and even contrary points of view. Our goal is to lead a 21st century discourse on the transformation of the Black community through open debate and dialogue.

Our name is symbolic with our commitment to be a source of enlightened reporting and commentary. In the journalistic tradition of Frederick Douglass, whose North Star newspaper’s name we have inherited, we will be fearless in distilling the truth and relentless in our pursuit of issues that are germane to societal conditions confronting Black Americans. Like the constellation that inspired Douglass, we intend to illuminate the path toward full recognition of Blacks’ citizenship rights.

Our strategy is to harness the power of new media, in the form of our Broadband portal, to provide an interactive communications platform for the delivery and receipt of news into Black households. We will distinguish ourselves from other sites by adhering to a news format and resisting the temptation to entertain or engage in frivolous programming. Neither will we post content simply for the sake of filling space. We have assembled a group of talented writers who will be contributing meaningful feature articles covering a variety of subjects. In addition, we plan to keep you abreast of important breaking news as stories emerge and develop throughout the course of the news cycle.

“We find the greatest challenge facing the Black community is simply to be heard.”

In a day and time when people are bombarded with rhetoric and misinformation through multiple mediums, we will strive to speak with clarity and consistency. In the midst of media clutter, we feel a certain obligation to hold all news media accountable for the manner in which it portrays the Black community in its reporting. In our estimation too little attention has been paid to the influence that news and public affairs programming has on political culture. While our attention is distracted by mind numbing debates on the dearth of entertainment programming featuring Blacks, popular culture is infested with the unqualified opinions of “talking heads.” Too often we find these “opinions” later embedded in public policy to the detriment of Blacks.

We find the greatest challenge facing the Black community is simply “to be heard.” The consolidation of media in this nation is threatening free speech. The “right to speak” is no longer a sufficient standard for our Democracy in an era when control of the communications pipeline determines who will be heard. Without access to the means of communication, our voices are being silenced.

In spite of the façade of open media, there are few outlets targeting our community that focus solely on news programming. And “mainstream media” is consistent and universal in its refusal to acknowledge informed Black opinions and its failure to recognize Black expertise. The reasons are many but the cumulative effect is a veil of ignorance over the larger society.

We also take umbrage at the prevailing attitude that the Black community is disinterested in substantive content and seeks only to be entertained. The devaluing of intellectual discourse has stifled the momentum we gained from social movements of yesteryear. The steady diet of comedic and music oriented programming fed our community works to anesthetize Black people. We firmly believe that there is a latent demand among people of African descent – Africans, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, European and Canadian – for news content in a social context.

As we settle into this much-celebrated “New Millennium” it is our contention that Black Americans must not enter this new century in a position worse than we left the century past. To do so will be a betrayal of the struggles of our ancestors and the future of our children. This next 100-year sojourn must represent the moment in history’s timeline when Black people assert themselves in all facets of American life, refusing to cede forward progress until all vestiges of racism and discrimination have withered away.

And will be there to tell the story.

Today marks the anniversary of the founding by Frederick Douglass of the North Star newspaper, the inspiration for or "The NorthStar Network" as we are also known.

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