Urban Spectrum Expands to the Mississippi Gulf and Baltimore
Denver Urban Spectrum founder and publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris’ dream of expanding the Urban Spectrum brand to different cities begins Aug. 1, thanks to the internet.
Originally, Harris wanted to franchise the Urban Spectrum in the print format, but as the media world changed, she decided to reach out to online readers.
“It’s funny,” Harris says. “When I look back on my business plan, it said, ‘Different franchises, in different cities.’ So, I had that idea a long time ago. And then when the internet came along, and newspapers started closing, I said, ‘Well, we have to take it to the next level.”
Sacrifice and Web Presence
The Denver Urban Spectrum has survived 30 years, while many publications, including major dailies, have fallen by the wayside.
“By sacrifice,” Harris says, “cutting back where needed on printing cost, increasing the Spectrum’s web presence, eliminating bloated overhead and unnecessary office space.
“We didn’t need the office anymore,” Harris says, “not really, because everybody is literally virtual, working mostly out of their homes.
“It’s part of our expansion and growth,” Harris explains. “And staying above the curve with the internet, and still trying to connect with people…this way it’s a great opportunity for people to see what’s going on in other parts of the country.”
Harris hopes the Urban Spectrum’s franchises will also attract national advertisers, such as Macy’s ad executives who discontinued their printads, siting they wanted to reach a national audience through digital platforms. “And what better way than to publish online,” Harris says. “If someone places an ad in the Urban Spectrum, it’s on the web automatically and goes to a national audience. It’s two-fold. We get the word out and generate income.”
The Baltimore Urban Spectrum first edition will profile the city’s mayor, Catherine E. Pugh. Many articles appearing in the Baltimore edition will be focused on Millennials – the online generation; African-American youth and young adults, 16-40 – including Opportunity Youth, 16-24 and a little Generation Y.
Former bureau chief of The Afro-American Newspapers, (the oldest running Black owned publication in the nation), Tiffany Ginyard will be at the helm of the Baltimore Urban Spectrum. Ginyard brings with her both print and broadcast experience punctuated by her tenure as an English teacher in the Baltimore public school system.
“This publication will be targeted to the movers and shakers on the grassroots level in the Baltimore metro area,” Ginyard explains. “This publication is for ‘woke’ people in the community who want to know where change,transformation and innovation is happening in Baltimore’s streets, schools and social network – and how they can join the action.”
Ginyard underlines the fact that the Baltimore Urban Spectrum will consist of four-to-five stories: Community Spotlight, State of the City (news briefs), Arts & Entertainment, Career & Education and Personal Empowerment/Commentary.
Ginyard adds that she’ll be recruiting youth and young adults who are aspiring writers, and journalism students from Morgan and Coppin State Universities and Baltimore city high schools.
“There is no publication like this,” she says.
Gulf Coast Edition
Former Denver Weekly News journalist and DUS contributor Gordon Jackson of GMJ MEDIA, an independent Media Management and Media Services firm, is partnering with the Denver Urban Spectrum, to target the people ofcolor market in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, which includes cities of Biloxi and Gulfport.
“We are also looking very seriouslyof publishing a print publication as well,” Jackson says.
Jackson explains the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum will focus on the hard-working, proud and professional segment of South Mississippi, mostly compacted in the three lower counties, Harrison,Hancock and Jackson – all of which are off the Gulf of Mexico.
Jackson says there is a highly visible and dynamic African-American community (about 20 percent of the region’s population), a significant Asian community, mostly Vietnamese, and a small butfast growing Hispanic community gaining more representation by the day.
“It is my plan to make the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum the prime information center for the people of color community here,” Jackson says. “We plan on developing first a small but solid staff of writers, reporters, photographers, videographers and bloggers that will cover the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful of the Gulf Coast region. We will have some great stories coming out of here.”
Harris says, “We want to connect cities with cities. Our online presence will provide a gateway that will direct viewers to the publication nearest to them and the opportunity to choose their publication as well.”
The Denver Urban Spectrum website will have the addition of the other publications, so visitors can see what’s going on in Denver. Harris says the other cities will post four local stories, community notes and syndicated movie reviews running in the Denver Urban Spectrum because they are national.
Harris adds she’s looking for journalists in other cities who want to start their own online and talk about what’s going on in their communities.
“We’ll go south, we’ll go east, and maybe get something on the west coast.”