“The St. Louis American is a black-owned, mission-driven news organization. We use the tools of journalism to inform, educate, inspire, empower and defend the black community in the St. Louis region.” That statement, according to the St. Louis American, is as old as the newspaper itself but today it takes on new meaning. While many local publications have been forced to shutdown, the St. Louis American is still printing: their mission is far too important to just sit it out.
Today marked the first edition of the American since local officials ordered residents to shelter at home. The American still felt it necessary to print because the staff knew that so many turn to them in crisis, just as they did during the unrest in Ferguson. In all things, there is a specific story for Black people and that’s what the paper is focused on providing each day and especially during times of crisis. With the shutdown, many businesses that normally stock the American have closed. Further, many advertisers have pulled back, as well. Even so, the American is publishing. The print edition is a bit smaller but it’s still available, although the paper has had to dramatically shift their distribution locations. Still, amazingly, the paper is available at 137 local stores. The E-edition of the newspaper is available online at no cost, to readers.
Although most of their content is available online, the paper acknowledges that many don’t have internet access and the public institutions that provide it– libraries, schools– are also closed. As such, they are encouraging those who have internet access to spread the word to as many as possible. The St. Louis American posts their content, along with other informative news, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The St. Louis American can easily be found on those platforms by searching their name. Black press has always had a significant role in American life and today is no different.