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OP-ED: Why the Biden campaign should invest in the Black Press

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Advertising in the Black Press provides deeper visibility beyond the mainstream media. It allows the Democrats to reach Black voters who might not otherwise encounter their campaign messages. Moreover, national polls may not capture the diversity of Black communities among urban, suburban, and rural areas. Black-owned newspapers reach readers in small towns, big cities, and beyond. Advertising in these platforms is part of a comprehensive outreach strategy for reaching Black Americans.

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Charles Cantu is the founder and CEO of RESET Digital, the first Black-owned DSP. Dr. Benjamin Chavis is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)
Charles Cantu is the founder and CEO of RESET Digital, the first Black-owned DSP. Dr. Benjamin Chavis is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)

Black-Owned Media: Key to a 2024 Biden-Harris Campaign Victory

By Charles Cantu and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

President Joe Biden wouldn’t have won the 2020 presidential election without the Black vote. In this Groundhog Day redo four years later, if President Biden wants to defeat Donald Trump again, he needs the Black vote more than ever. The GOP knows this and has been courting Black men in particular, with Trump suggesting in a bizarre and racist remark that Black men will root for him because they identify with his legal troubles.

The 2024 national elections will be the most consequential elections in American history. The Black Press and the Black Vote will be determinative factors in the outcome of the elections this year.

Insider Intelligence predicts that campaigns will spend more than $12 billion on advertising during this election cycle, a new record. Dollar for dollar, the biggest ROI the Biden campaign can get is by advertising in Black-owned and -operated newspapers and media. Specifically, this means the Black Press—the more than 200 Black-owned newspapers and their respective websites. There are also more than 1000 other kinds of Black-owned media that include websites, podcasts, CTV channels, and radio stations.

It’s not just the Biden-Harris campaign. Democrats down the ticket and around the country will see immense advertising amplification by advertising in Black-owned media. In other words, advertising in Black-owned media isn’t just another insertion order because the Black Press is a different kind of media.

Over decades—in some cases since the 1800s—Black-owned newspapers have built deep trust with their readers. Their coverage or endorsement can positively influence voter opinions, building credibility for Democratic candidates and the issues they champion. By advertising in the Black Press, Democrats can directly impact how Black voters perceive their policies and candidates.

Here are a few of the unique qualities and advantages of advertising in Black-owned media.

Targeted Reach: Black-owned newspapers and websites have a dedicated readership within the African American community. By advertising there, Democrats will directly engage with a crucial voting bloc.

Increased Visibility Beyond Urban Centers: Advertising in the Black Press provides deeper visibility beyond the mainstream media. It allows the Democrats to reach Black voters who might not otherwise encounter their campaign messages. Moreover, national polls may not capture the diversity of Black communities among urban, suburban, and rural areas. Black-owned newspapers reach readers in small towns, big cities, and beyond. Advertising in these platforms is part of a comprehensive outreach strategy for reaching Black Americans.

Community Connections: These publications serve as vital sources of information for Black communities. Advertising in the Black Press demonstrates a commitment to understanding and addressing the unique concerns of Black communities. The ad buy itself demonstrates that the candidate is doing more than paying lip service to Black issues.

From Polling to Policy: The Black Press plays a critical role in shaping public opinion within diverse Black communities. Advertising in Black-owned media will allow Democratic candidates to highlight specific policies that affect Black Americans, such as criminal justice reform, economic empowerment and debt reform, overseas wars, and access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Historical Context: Black-owned newspapers have a rich history of advocating for civil rights and social justice. Advertising within these platforms reinforces Democratic commitment to equality and progress for all Americans.

Solidarity: Advertising in the Black Press sends a powerful message of unity. It shows that Democrats value Black voices and are committed to uplifting marginalized communities.

Local leading to National Impact: The cliché that all politics is local happens to be true. Many Black-owned newspapers focus on local news and issues that then gain national attention. By advertising with the Black Press, Democrats will connect with voters at a grassroots level, emphasizing their commitment to community development.

Fighting Misinformation and Disinformation: Russia has already started intense election interference in the U.S. and other democracies facing 2024 elections, including websites masquerading as local news outlets. Black-owned newspapers are established and reputable within their communities. By advertising in the Black Press, Democrats can support high-quality journalism that counters conspiracy theories that circulate elsewhere.

Getting out the Black Vote: Recently, the DNC announced a historic Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) campaign in Nevada and South Carolina. These are paid ad campaigns. Directing media investment for such campaigns in the Black Press can increase turnout for this key voting bloc.

Battleground States: Black voters are influential in key battleground states. Advertising in the Black Press can help sway opinion and mobilize voters in critical regions.

In the most recent Census, Black Americans represented 12.4% of the U.S. population. The amount of money that advertisers of all sorts spend on Black-owned media comes nowhere close that percentage.

However, Democratic candidates shouldn’t advertise in the Black Press just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do.

Charles Cantu is the founder and CEO of RESET Digital, the first Black-owned DSP.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

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