Wherever you go “inside” Cleveland over the next few days there’ll be some buzz about EJBNEWS.COM’s 50,000 circulation newspaper being distributed all over the city’s streets. The overwhelming majority of the 50,000 copies are being circulated “inside” Cleveland’s municipal borders. I’ve circulated some in East Cleveland, Euclid, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Maple and Garfield Heights. Some in Lakewood. But for right now my focus is on building a news, distribution and advertising base “inside” the county’s largest city. 50,000 actual newspaper copies gives EJBNEWS.COM close to 200,000 readers.
Since Friday my team and I have been driving across the city dropping newspapers on all sides of town. The acceptance is expected. Our supply of newspapers in neighborhood stores in Cleveland and the surrounding cities is moving fast. There’s a reason for it.
Check out one of the stories we’re distributing to readers. It features information about 42 East Cleveland police officers who criminally-violated a state law to stop making arrests after their Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy credentials expired. I originated the story on a social media page and it’s now here. Only one other media outlet has picked it up though I shared at least a dozen posts about it over the past year on social media.
By expanding the story to the streets through 50,000 copies of EJBNEWS.COM the information has made its way to the minds of U.S. citizens who were arrested by individuals who had been ordered to stop performing a law enforcement officers duties and wearing a weapon.
My story cited the specific state law the individuals were violating. It also cited two state laws individuals could use to cause the law enforcement officer impersonators to be prosecuted. That’s not the level of information a reader has “ever” received from the Plain Dealer, WKYC, FOX8, WOIO, WEWS, the Call & Post, Sun, Scene or cleveland.com.
The OPOTA information I shared with Chasing Justice activist Mariah Crenshaw last year has already led to serious changes in the criminal justice system with Judge John Russo’s decision to accept her criminal complaint against 24 East Cleveland city workers who impersonated law enforcement officers. New case law in our state’s courts will come out of the information I’ve shared as defendants use it to battle for justice.
Unlike me. None of their publishers, editors or reporters have led a city as a mayor. They didn’t work for two mayors as I did as a chief of staff and special assistant. They didn’t testify against one of their ex-mayor bosses for federal prosecutors in three trials like I did.
They know nothing about the laws that govern our local, county, state and federal governments as I do. They’ve never fired a police chief or a detective married to a drug dealer the FBI was investigating like I did. They’ve never scheduled a meeting with a HUD secretary like I did with Alphonso Jackson to discuss the details of East Cleveland’s block grant program.
Reporters informing you here don’t know municipal government, public education or federal HUD laws like I do. I campaigned for a seat on the Cleveland school board in 1983 and earned close to 18,000 votes. I served on the Financial Planning & Supervision Commission that guided East Cleveland schools out of fiscal emergency. I led 280 workers and managed a $21 million budget to keep East Cleveland out of fiscal emergency for 4 years.
When I write about city hall, school districts or the county and state, or guide my reporters to cover a story about these institutions, my insights and not those of someone like Tom Meyer or Carl Monday is what will be used by readers to deliver them information. Meyer’s my bitch. It’s not the other way around. I couldn’t be that level of an editorial bottom feeder if I tried.
Understand this about me. I’m very “old school” when it comes to news. I’m also a product of my East Saint Louis, Illinois upbringing between 1956 and 1969 as a Negro born in November 1953 during a period of “segregation” here in Cleveland. We returned to Cleveland in 1969 after I was “raised” in a city known for an anti-black race riot in 1917. My news came from publishers who wrote about my father’s activist and political activities.
The newspapers I was raised on in a city with a 75 percent black population during that period in time were the Crusader owned by John Kirkpatrick. The Monitor owned by Clyde Jordan. The St. Louis Evening Whirl owed by Benjamin Thomas. Muhammad Speaks owned by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. These men shaped my early editorial perspective in that majority black city.
I learned the basics of the newspaper business from Eugene Coleman who owned the San Antonio SNAP. I freelanced as a photographer for Jesse Henry’s San Antonio Community Journal before I returned to Cleveland in 1978 and was hired by William O. Walker of the Call & Post to work in his production department. I, personally, designed and laid-out EJBNEWS.COM to achieve the look I wanted. I’m not done … yet.
When I worked for the Call & Post in 1978 and 1979 it was the 5th largest black owned in the nation. 110 workers paid every week with checks that never bounced. Non-union. The headquarters was Cleveland. Mr. Walker published editions in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Akron and Youngstown.
The Call & Post, then, was also one of 5 black-owned newspapers with its own web press. Mr. Walker printed ethnic language newspapers for some of the area’s Eastern European publishers. Zoltan Gombos’ Szbadsdag, the nation’s largest Hungarian weekly, was printed at the Call & Post by all black workers.
No publisher influenced me more than Mr. Walker. It as at the Call & Post under his business and editorial leadership that the full scope of why newspapers were important and how they could be used to empower the masses came into focus.
With me being born in 1953 I recognized that Mr. Walker was born in 1895 and a peer of my grandparents. His editorial influences were men like John Russworm. Russworm was the nation’s first black newspaper publisher and an abolitionist. Mr. Walker was a freedom fighter and civil rights activist. My journalistic roots extend to the beginning of this nation’s black press and I am no less a freedom fighting civil rights advocate than they were.
I see myself as at least a 10th generation American Descendant of Slaves and Freed Men and Women. My ancestral roots are before the U.S. Civil War. Editorially I am “all in” on our civil, economic, educational, housing and health rights. All fucking in and ruthlessly so.
So the editorial ride we’re going on is “truth, justice and the American way.” Truth will be shared. Lies will be exposed.
I’m not a publisher and journalist who believes my American people are dumb, or that the collective intelligence of our community here in Cleveland exists at the 8th grade level. Fuck that dumbed down editorial bullshit the so-called “mainstream” media pushes.
I believe in exceptionalism and that “my American people” here in Cleveland and northeast Ohio are fucking brilliant. I’m going to editorially respect you that way.