YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — First News is celebrating Black History Month by showcasing stories which reflect, celebrate and honor African Americans.
On Friday, we took a look at an important piece of Black history in print media.
The Buckeye Review has been published since 1937. It remains Ohio’s premier Black publication.
“That’s our goal really to tell our stories all the time,” says Mike McNair, co-publisher of the paper.
The current edition has “A look ‘Black’ on 2022,” as well as an article on two Chaney football players making commitments to play college football at the University of Michigan.
“African Americans are interested in everything that everyone else is,” McNair says. “But there are many things that we’re interested in a little more.”
The Buckeye Review is a collection of it all. Celebrating Celebrations includes birthdays, anniversaries and other significant achievements.
But the paper also has a perspective on the dominant stories that are in the media.
The Buckeye Review has 2,000 subscribers in 200 cities and 26 states. McNair has hired some younger members to help put the publication where younger people want to read it — on their phones or computers. He wants readers to know the paper is there for talk about the highs and lows in Black neighborhoods.
“We live in an American house. and we have some things in our basement that we don’t want to face, but not facing it doesn’t make it go away. But when we face it, we can have a better conversation,” McNair says. “We can really love one another, which is what real Americana is about if we do it that way.”
Ernie Brown grew up on the Eastside of Youngstown and went into journalism. When that career started in 1976 at The Vindicator, he felt that the Black community wanted fairness of coverage and that too many front page stories were bad and good stories needed more prominent placement.
Brown started a minority affairs column in 2001 — even writing about the Hispanic population — and it changed the dynamic.
“As those events began to be covered, people then began to bring in news tips to us about certain things that were going on — both good and bad in the community, and that enhanced our news coverage,” Brown said.
Brown is particularly proud of how his column got word out about the African American Male Wellness Walk when it started, knowing it could be especially helpful to men. The walk continues to this day.
Brown turned his writing into a distinguished career, which included being inducted last year into the Youngstown Press Club Hall of Fame.
“I try to encourage young people get involved in journalism. There’s stories out there — their stories — that you can tell from your perspective, that would bring a different feel to the story,” Brown said.