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The legacy of Central Florida’s black press 

The voice of the voiceless

Page 7 of 7

Both Madison and Collins say black readers in Orlando still respond to the printed version of their publications, despite the focus on social media, which is why that's still their focus. "What makes our day is when a grandmother calls wanting 30 copies of the paper because her grandson is on the cover," Collins says. "There's still pride in seeing yourself in print. It makes it seem more real than just a web page."

Madison says he's trying to develop enough print revenue to create a better online presence, but he says it's expensive, and advertising dollars can be tough to chase down. While larger publications with broader audiences have a larger advertising base, black newspapers have to rely on their immediate communities to support them.

"We have to go within our own community and survive off that," he says. "We feel we should be getting that advertising over other weeklies with a much smaller circulation. That's the only part I'm not pleased about. Not being taken seriously by corporate America."

Collins says that even though it's a tight market, and the Florida Sun Review and Orlando Times are independent publications, he and Madison try to collaborate rather than compete, sharing tips on advertising and ways to generate revenue. Because in the end, he says, it's less about the money and more about the legacy of the black press.

"All of us in the black press are brothers," Collins says. "Even though we compete, at the end of the day we feel we can't let one of our own fail because that's one less voice for our community. Brother Jim and I are very good friends. The mainstream papers can be cutthroat with the competition, but for us it's more of a kinship. We are struggling trying to do this, but we're doing it together, and that in itself is a beautiful thing."

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