Today brings some incredibly good news for independent community journalism in the Boston area. Melvin Miller, the legendary founder, publisher and editor of The Bay State Banner, has decided to sell the paper. Miller, 88, has been a stalwart in covering the Black community since he launched the paper 57 years ago. But as he says, he’s not getting any younger — and not only is the Banner remaining independent and Black-owned, but there are plans to expand as well.
The Banner will be acquired by a group headed by Ron Mitchell, an editor and video journalist at WBZ-TV, and Andre Stark, a filmmaker whose credits include GBH-TV and its national programs “Frontline” and “Nova.” Yawu Miller, Mel Miller’s nephew, will stay on as senior editor, and Ken Cooper, who recently retired from a top position at GBH News, will serve as an editorial consultant overseeing the addition of three regional editions north of Massachusetts, in Connecticut and in Rhode Island. Colin Redd, who’s worked as business development manager at Blavity, a website popular with younger African Americans, will oversee a digital expansion.
Mel Miller was quoted as saying:
I’ve been looking for some time for someone to step up and take over the job. I think the Banner is needed more than ever. Both Ron and Andre are from old Roxbury families with deep ties to the community. They know the people, know the streets, know the issues we face. I have every confidence they will carry on the great work we’ve done for close to 60 years.
The Bay State Banner is a Boston institution. Miller has been performing a great service to the community since 1965 — and he’s performing another one now by leaving it in what sounds like very good hands.