Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Endorsement Creates Furor in Detroit: Black-Interest Newspaper's Endorsement of Michigan Republican Sparks Protests, Boycott and Rage, but Circulation Goes Up

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Endorsement Creates Furor in Detroit: Black-Interest Newspaper's Endorsement of Michigan Republican Sparks Protests, Boycott and Rage, but Circulation Goes Up

Article excerpt

Black-interets newspaper's endorsement of Michigan Republican sparks protests, boycott and rage, but circulation goes up

WHEN DETROIT'S LARGEST black-interest newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, endorsed Republican Gov. John Engler for re-election, it sparked furious protests.

Some 200 protesters burned copies of the Chronicle in front of the paper's offices Nov. 3.

Various local union officers called for organized boycotts of the paper.

The president of the local chapter of the NAACP declared that "the Chronicle as we once knew it is not the Chronicle that we have now."

Democratic politicians weighed in: Former Detroit mayor, Coleman Young, called the endorsement a damned shame."

And a black local Democratic organization leader said Chronicle publisher Sam Logan had "betrayed" the African-American community.

Amid the furor, however, Logan himself was calm.

Not only did Gov. Engler win re-election Nov. 8 - but Logan says the protests actually pushed circulation up a bit.

"I'll do it again, if I get this kind of response," Logan said in a telephone interview.

"We got 10, 15 or 20 subscription cancellations - mostly, you know, for dramatization. But for every [cancellation] we received, we got 20 or so new subscriptions," he said.

"For every call I got that said, 'We're disgusted with the Chronicle,' I got about 25 people - black, white, brown, yellow and blue - saying it was the right thing to do," Logan added.

The Chronicle's endorsement of a Republican was front-page news in Detroit because the black-owned paper had been a reliable supporter of Democrats for decades.

The publication even endorsed the eventual Democratic candidate, Howard Wolpe, in the bitter party primary last summer.

But Logan said neither Wolpe nor his campaign team ever explained the candidate's plans for Detroit - and never communicated with the newspaper. …

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