The Chicago Defender, the historic African American newspaper founded in 1905, will cease print publication, with the last print issue releasing on Wednesday. The decision has been announced to the local media in Chicago, but readers have not been alerted on social media, or on the company’s website. The newspaper will move entirely to digital publications.
“This is a difficult decision, but I think it’s the right decision,” Hiram Jackson, CEO of Defender parent company Real Times Media, told the Chicago Tribune. “The Defender is about providing information to the African-American community. The numbers are evident that the best way to do that is through doubling down on our digital platform.” Jackson also told the Tribune that the Defender publishes around 16,000 copies per week, but reaches 475,000 monthly visitors online.
The Chicago Defender has chronicled over a century of history, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Langston Hughes. The paper was founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott in the south side of Chicago. By the beginning of the World War I, two-thirds of its readership came from outside of Chicago, as it spread across the South.
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“We understand that to some of our loyal readers, this rite of passage is a painful one” Jackson said. “However, we are committed to preserving the legacy of the Chicago Defender and are excited to be making this bold step to ensure its vitality for the next 100 years.”
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