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Twentieth Anniversary Celebration at Hand

The Constitution of the United States mentions only one profession. It talks about the Freedom of the Press. Consequently, my wife and I have inadvertently joined the profession of journalism when we answered the call and founded the Pasadena Journal Newspaper.

Over the past twenty years we have taken seriously the duty that comes with owning and operating a newspaper. As with everything in a racially diverse society, we must always moderate being African American in a society that has historically been controlled by White Americans. In that vein, we fight to make sure that Blacks are included in all parts of American life. At the same time we must carry out our duty under the Freedom of the Press, while not being insensitive to the plight of Whites, Latinos, Asians, and others that make up the fabric of diverse American life.

Over the years we have tried to tell the good news of African American life, to balance the many negative stories that dominate the so-called mainstream press. We have tried to tell the stories of positive couples, individuals and events that present good life and positive role models for living Black in America.

In a small market like Pasadena, the journey is made somewhat simpler in that it is easier to gain access to and meet and interact with the policy makers of the city. And it is easier to find the positive stories and role models that make up the life style of a community.

At the same time, the job of publishing a free community newspaper is made more difficult because while access to news is unlimited, access to advertisers is limited. The source for income from advertisers is limited because the number of businesses in a small community is small. There is also a potential problem of making the policy makers and potential advertisers angry, thereby cutting off the source of advertisers.  This second problem is problematic since you don't really want to choose what is news based on what will keep people happy as opposed to what is truth. Truth must always trump convenience. At the Journal we have tried to follow that policy and I think we have done a good job.

We have gone from a four page 500 copy newsletter we called, "HOPPIES JOURNAL" to a 20-24 page weekly newspaper, with between 7,000 to 10,000 copies weekly. We work hard at carrying our duty to the community helping to keep the news out there and providing jobs and training for a few people who might not have gotten the opportunity to work in the journalism field.

In a town and community with only one Daily Newspaper which is over 100 years old, and a few weekly newspapers, we have survived along with one other weekly that has over twenty-five years. We are proud of our accomplishment, not because of the economic success because we are still struggling, but the rewards are great when we get calls from citizens like the one we got this past week from a reader who said, "Thanks for printing the story of our mother's 100 year birthday."

It is rewarding when we get a thank you from the high school or college graduates whose lives serve as inspiration to others to stay in school. This anniversary is in response to many of our readers who said that we should celebrate this milestone.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the historic location of the Tournament House (Wrigley Mansion) and reading your messages of congratulations for posterity. This special event also marks our journey as we embark on the next twenty years and, hopefully, begin to transition the business to our children and grandchildren.

There are still a limited number of tickets left to the banquet.  To reserve a seat, please contact The Journal Offices at: 626-798-3972 or 1541 N. Lake Avenue, Suite A, Pasadena, CA   91104.