Hard News with Cultural Commentary: The North Star's Revival
If you follow activist Shaun King, you know that he and long time friend Ben Dixon are reviving Fredrick Douglass' The North Star, the abolitionist newspaper started by Douglas and Martin Delany 171 years ago. They are taking on this huge endeavor with funds that they will crowd source from their dedicated communities and with the blessing of Fredrick Douglass' family. From audience podcast to video news, this is sure to be the modern day news source that is un-apologetically establishing itself as a resource to the African American community.
We wholeheartedly support this effort as some may ask...why is this type of news outlet needed in today's society? The answer is simple. Reporters, journalist, anchors, and others that work for major media outlets have to answer to an executive team that is looking solely at profits. In some instances, one can not guarantee the complete accuracy and the slant of the news if the goal is simply to monitor the bottom line.
The North Star will provide news and information in a way that allows African Americans and those that care about the African American community to have all of the facts on situations as it would benefit them and their families. News and information has the power of shaping perception. For example, the perception that many have about African Americans around the world is based on that which they see in the media. One thing that I know for sure is that as African Americans, we can not allow others to share our story and expect that it be told exactly the way that we would like for it to be told.
I do hope that people will once again revisit the life of Fredrick Douglas and the contributions that he made to society. Douglas is just one example of journalistic roots in our community. It is interesting to look at news publications that were out during the time period that Douglas started his publication in 1847. You will see that they were on the fence about slavery according to King. Having that sort of bias would shape the news that these publications shared.
Our community needs the information straight with no sugar coating it. This will ultimately allow us to grow as a community.
Listen to King's interview on NPR about why he feels that a publication like The North Star is important in the world that we live in today.
To learn more about how you can become a member of the North Star check out their website, Building The North Star.
Interesting Facts about the original The North Star:
First published December 3, 1847
Douglas started the publication off of funds he earned during a speaking tour in Great Britain and Ireland
Name of the newspaper paid homage to the fact that escaping slaves used the North Star to guide them to freedom
Paper published in Rochester, NY
The paper was 4 pages long and sold by subscription at $2 per year
Paper was sold to 4000 members in the US, Europe, and West Indies