By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Bay State Banner in limbo

The Bay State Banner, which serves the region’s African-American community, has shut down while editor and publisher Melvin Miller seeks investors. The Phoenix’s Adam Reilly has the details, here and here. Universal Hub and the Boston Globe have covered the story as well.

Miller, a lawyer who founded the Banner in 1965, has kept it alive through sheer grit and determination. As you can see from his bio, he’s had a wide-ranging career, and has served on a number of non-profit boards, including Boston University’s. The current executive editor is Howard Manly, a veteran journalist who’s worked for the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston.”

Miller’s closest brush with media moguldom, to coin a word, was as vice president and general counsel at what is now WHDH-TV (Channel 7), owned by a cross-section of community leaders headed by David Mugar from 1982 to 1993.

Mugar and company had hoped to emulate the success of WCVB-TV (Channel 5), which in the 1970s established itself as one of the best and most-admired local television stations in the country. But the Channel 7 group was never able to pull it off, and ended up selling to Miami-based Ed Ansin.

The Banner’s Web site is still alive. Boston needs a locally owned African-American media outlet. Let’s hope someone who can afford to wait out the advertising meltdown will step forward.

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  1. Ron Newman

    Most Boston neighborhoods have local newspapers such as the Dorchester Reporter or the JP Gazette or the Allston-Brighton Tab. Roxbury doesn't — it depends on the Banner for its local news reporting. What can replace it in this role?

  2. Steve Brown

    What is equally as troubling about the demise of the Banner is the lack of discussion about it on this blog. Ten hours after the initial post, only one comment has been posted. Have we become desensitized to yet another newspaper biting the dust?

  3. Logan Felonious

    That was one SORRY newspaper.

  4. Ron Newman

    Logan: care to tell us why you feel this way?

  5. O-FISH-L

    Dan wrote, "Boston needs a locally owned African-American media outlet."—43 years after MA Republicans put up a black candidate who won statewide office and three years after MA Democrats finally did the same, the notion that ownership of anything around here needs to be race-based is outdated. As Ed Brooke's election wins indicated, we have long since entered the post racial era. Let it go.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: OK, let's put it another way. Roxbury needs a paper like the Jamaica Plain Gazette or the Dorchester Report.

  7. Ron Newman

    Fish: would you like to abolish the Jewish Advocate and El Planeta and Sampan and the Boston Irish Reporter while you're at it? Ethnic groups still exist, and niche media exist to serve them and help bind the groups together.

  8. Stephanie

    I like Dan Kennedy's rephrase: "Fish: OK, let's put it another way. Roxbury needs a paper like the Jamaica Plain Gazette or the Dorchester Report." Good reporting and news is good reporting and news.

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