Creating and Evaluating
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US History (Twentieth Century)
Since its beginning, the African-American press has helped
to create and stabilize communities. These newspapers spoke
for the political and economic needs of their readers while
also employing thousands of African-Americans. They provided
a forum for debate on current issues and gave a voice to people
who were voiceless. African-American newspapers were originally
able to maintain their independent positions because their profits
depended mainly on circulation. That is, they did not have to
rely on advertisers and their demands that could affect the
editorial content of the newspapers. This economic independence
allowed them to report on what they saw as the truth. Ironically,
the Civil Rights Movement would eventually help put the African-American
newspapers out of business. Many black journalists were wooed
away from African-American newspapers and offered higher paying
positions in the mainstream press. This "brain drain" resulted
in decreased circulation for African-American newspapers. As
a result, the newspapers then had to rely on increased advertising
to remain profitable. This increased advertising had an effect
on editorial policy. African-American newspapers could not criticize
white Americans and still rely on its advertising business.
Eventually the black press backed away from overt confrontations
at a time when racial violence was erupting around the country.
1) 0:00 - 16:43 "Too Long Have Others Spoken for
Us": Freedom's Journal created to respond to the mainstream
press' vilification of African-Americans; Frederick Douglass
said the press is vital to social change; Ida B. Wells of The
Memphis Free Speech investigated lynchings and was run out of
town by a lynch mob; Robert S. Abbott said the vehicle for America's
change will be the newspaper.
2) 17:36 - 23:20 "Standing Up for the Race":
By 1910, over 275 African-American newspapers in print; The
California Eagle told African-Americans how to get jobs and
find housing in the Los Angeles area; newspapers depended on
subscription sales; by 1920, the Chicago Defender was reaching
millions of Americans per week; Robert S. Abbott became the
first African-American to become a millionaire from publishing.
3) 42:49 - 50:35 "A Separate World": Most newspapers
remained independent because they did not rely on advertisements;
some African-American newspapers were in financial trouble and
had to publish outrageous ads; The Pittsburgh Courier became
the first national African-American newspaper and was published
in 15 editions.
4) 59:00 - 1:11:36 "Treason?": Double V campaign,
victory over enemies from without and enemies from within; government
felt black press would hinder war effort; FBI Director, J. Edgar
Hoover wanted to indict a group of African-American publishers
for treason; Double V campaign became the catalyst for the Civil
5) 1:11:36 - End "Putting Itself Out of Business":
The Civil Rights Movement would eventually put the African-American
press out of business; white media began reporting what was
happening to African-Americans; mainstream press hired African-American
reporters; created "brain drain" in African-American press;
decreased revenue led to increased advertising in black newspapers;
African-American newspapers could no longer criticize white
America and expect white-owned companies to purchase ads; African-American
newspaper circulation declined in the 1960s, and its power began
to wane; without the black press it became more difficult for
African-Americans to debate issues and choose their own leaders.
Students will research how advertising agencies market
products for different ethnic groups and how they generally
target specific audiences.
Students will interview representatives from local advertising
agencies about marketing, particularly marketing within ethnic
Students will work in groups and decide on an objective
as it relates to reaching a particular audience by designing
two different advertisements for one product, each targeting
at a different ethnic group.
The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords video
The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords website (www.pbs.org/blackpress)
or KQED website (www.kqed.org/ednet)
Local ethnic newspapers
Ethnic media online: www.bet.com, www.netnoir.com
Marketing companies (may specialize in ethnic research):
www.arbitron.com, www.asiacentral.com, (analyzes Asian markets)
www.gallup.com, www.hispanicmarketing.com, http://hispanic-research.com,
www.jdpa.com, (JD Power and Associates) www.rightbrainpeople.com,
(emotional research, consumer psychology) www.nielsenmedia.com,
(measures ethnic tv audiences)
3 class periods (60 minutes each)
Have students think about popular advertising campaigns
in various media.
Discuss: Can students think of examples of ads that
target specific audiences, based on age, gender, interests,
etc.? Can they think of advertise-ments in any media that target
specific ethnic groups? What are they? In what ways do they
target specific ethnic groups? Can students find any relationships
between the products/ideas that are being marketed and the target
audience? Are advertisements aimed at certain ethnic groups
a good idea or a bad idea? Why are advertisements so important
in today's society and in today's business world? Are there
any advertisements that have made you want to purchase something?
What about this advertisement appealed to you?
FOCUS FOR VIEWING:
The following segments of the video and suggestions for showing
the segments provide effective preparation and points of focus
for this activity.
SEGMENT 1: "Too Long Have Others Spoken for
For viewing Segment 1, write the following questions on the
board or overhead:
What does the title of the segment mean?
The segment shows the birth of the African-American Press,
which for the first time gave African-Americans a voice. Its
advent gave African-Americans the opportunity to counter the
stereotypes prevalent in the Mainstream Press. This answer
can be inferred early on in the viewing of Segment 1.
How did the ending of the Civil War affect the
Half-way through the segment, it shows how the ending of
the Civil War made it so African-Americans didn't have to
fear being caught reading in public. The freedom of slaves
provided a whole new audience for newspapers, so the number
of African-American newspapers proliferated, often being printed
with church printing presses. The first question is a good
one for students to try to answer before watching the video.
It will encourage prediction and anticipation. Plus, it is
one that students are likely to guess at an answer which comes
close to answering it correctly. It also serves as a good
introduction to thinking about providing a product for a specific
audience. The second question will likely require the context
provided by the video. It is a good idea to stop the video
to discuss the importance of the booming audience for African-American
SEGMENT 2: "Standing Up for the Race"
For viewing Segment 2, write the following questions on the
board or overhead:
How did the California Eagle demonstrate Charlotta
Spears Bass' emphasis on social change?
Early in the segment, it shows how the paper served as a
draw for African-Americans to Los Angeles by providing valuable
information on housing, jobs and so on.
How did the Chicago Defender act as an "advertisement"
for the North for southern readers? What effect did
Midway through the segment, the audience learns that World
War I created a need for workers in the industrial cities
in the North and Midwest and that the publisher of the Chicago
Defender used the newspaper to point out the availability
of jobs and to encourage readers in the South to move North
for those jobs. It also promoted the numerous social activities
available to African-Americans in Chicago, Detroit, etc. The
result was the Great Migration. The first part of the segment
details the California Eagle and what the role of the newspaper
was and what roles a newspaper can serve, especially for audiences
whose needs are not being met anywhere else. In essence they
assist their audiences in what to do in the way that advertisements
can't. The Chicago Defender took that to a new level in its
promotion of migration North. Stop the video when it points
out the attempts to ban African-American papers. Ask students
how they think the papers overcame the attempt to ban them.
Start the tape again, and they will learn that railroad porters
were instrumental in the dissemination of the papers. The
messages - which is at the heart of advertisements - still
SEGMENT 3: "A Separate World"
For viewing Segment 3, write the following question on the
board or overhead:
How did advertisements steer readers to "friendly"
Midway through the segment, the video shows sample ads that
promoted businesses that would not turn away African-American
patrons. Jim Crow still existed in the South and prejudice
was still rampant in other parts of the country, so readers
benefited greatly from finding out about friendly establishments.
Before showing the segment, ask students if they know what
the question is asking, i.e., what does "friendly" mean? Encourage
responses, but leave the question unanswered. At the point
in the video in which it is revealed, compare the definition
with those that came up beforehand. Expand the discussion
to include why such a simple message of being friendly to
African-Americans would carry such weight and create consumer
SEGMENT 4: "Treason?"
For viewing Segment 4, write the following question on the
board or overhead:
How did the Double V Campaign spread commercially
beyond the newspapers?
The first part of the segment shows how the Pittsburgh Courier
coined the phrase Double V to signify victory overseas against
the Germans and Japanese and victory at home over second-class
status. The phrase made its way onto buttons, into songs and
even into a hairstyle for women. Before showing the segment,
you may need to explain the meaning of commercially. After
showing the entire segment, you should discuss how one man
(James Thompson) coining one phrase in one newspaper can have
such an impact. This impact is similar to the way an advertisement
today can become prevalent, e.g., "Whassssuuuupppp!" from
the Budweiser commercial.
SEGMENT 5: "Putting Itself Out of Business"
For viewing Segment 5, write the following questions on the
board or overhead:
How did growing numbers of advertisers affect the
editorial content of African-American newspapers?
The segment talks about how the growing number of readers
after WW II led to increased advertising, including companies
like GM. Those advertisers didn't want any inflammatory articles
about white people to be run in the newspapers. As a result,
the papers toned down their editorial.
Why did many prominent African-American journalists
leave African-American papers for mainstream newspapers?
Towards the end of the segment, one journalist talks about
the financial incentive to write for the Mainstream Press.
This migration to the Mainstream Press created a "brain drain"
for the African-American Press, resulting in its downfall.
Both of these questions are good ones for students to try
to guess at their answers before viewing and then discuss
post viewing. Their relationship to the activity is mainly
that they address the economic side of the press. Today, advertising
is the dominant form of revenue for newspapers.
Have students brainstorm a list of advertisements that
appear to be aimed at specific ethnic groups. (Or, students
can first categorize commercials based on other types of target
audiences, e.g., specific age, gender and so on. This should
help ensure that students understand how ads target audiences
before they analyze those that are geared toward ethnic audiences.)
Discuss why these advertisements might appeal to members of
Have students research how advertising agencies market
products for different ethnic groups. Students can interview
representatives from local ad agencies and marketing firms.
Plus, some information can be found on the web. Sites such as
www.nielsenmedia.com and www.hispanicmarketing.com could be
helpful in the early stages of the research. Invite professionals
from local advertising agencies to speak to students. Have students
come up with a list of questions to ask regarding target audiences,
particularly ethnic advertising.
Once information about ethnic advertising is gathered,
have students divide into groups. Have each group choose a consumer
product on which to focus. Each group should then use what it
has learned about marketing towards ethnic groups to design
two advertisements for the product that they have chosen. Each
advertisement should be targeted at a different ethnic group.
Student groups will then share their advertisements with the
class. During their presentations, students should explain how
their marketing techniques will appeal to their intended audience.
Media: Have students keep a media log
for a week. While watching TV and movies, listening to the radio,
reading magazines or just while driving/walking around, students
should look for advertisements that are geared towards different
ethnic groups. Record these in the media log, being sure to
note where each of the ads occurred (on a billboard in a specific
neighborhood, on an ethnically-specific radio station, on a
regular broadcast network [ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox], etc.), then
share some of the examples with the class, including the ways
in which the advertisements target their audiences.
Government: Have students find ways in
which political parties tailor their platforms to different
ethnic groups. Students can analyze speeches given to different
groups, as well as information from political websites and ethnic
news Web sites (see sites cited above). AND/OR have students
find examples of government-sponsored public service announcements,
pamphlets and brochures that are geared toward specific ethnic
groups. For example, many of the informative pamphlets are printed
in numerous languages.
Social Issues: Have students examine advertisements
dealing with social issues, such as education, AIDS awareness
and smoking. How do these ads target different ethnic groups?
Have students read "Anti-Tobacco Campaign Targets Ethnic Community"
from the Los Angeles Sentinel (July 30, 1997). Discuss: Why
do anti-smoking ads need to target minorities? Why was a minority-owned
firm hired to create these ads? How does each ad target a particular
ethnic group? How do you think the ad agency came up with their
Economics: Have students think about the
connection between the level of media advertising for a product
and how much that product is desired. That is, is it true that
the more a product is advertised, the more it is wanted/desired?
Or, does advertising have little affect on how popular a product
becomes? Also, students should analyze any connection between
the amount of advertising and the price of a product being advertised.
Additionally, students can look at the relationship between
advertising and a product's need, i.e., is a product more of
a luxury item or a necessity? These analyses can occur by giving
students the advertisements from a Sunday edition of your local
newspaper. Also, students can use these advertisements to create
a list of items they might buy on a typical day at the mall.
Then have students figure out how many hours they would have
to work at minimum wage in order to pay for this shopping trip.
Finally, ask students if they would go into personal debt in
order to purchase any of the items on their lists.
Evaluate students' advertisements with regard to the
way in which each advertisement was meant to appeal to a certain
ethnic group. Creativity, effort, and presentation may also
be taken into account.
Have students evaluate their own and their peers' advertisements
as well. An informal poll could also be taken: Which advertisement
would make you want to buy the product? Which advertisement
was the most creative?
HS History Grades 9-12
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills
Chronological and Spatial Thinking- Students
compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences
of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that
Historical Interpretation- Students show the
connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical
events and larger social, economic, and political trends and
US History and Geography Grade 11
Standard 11.2: Students analyze the relationship
among the rise of industrialization, large-scale rural-to-urban
migration, and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern
Europe. Describe the changing landscape, including the growth
of cities linked by industry and trade, and the development
of cities divided according to race, ethnicity, and class.
Standard 11.5: Students analyze the major political,
social, economic, technological, and cultural developments
of the 1920s. Analyze the international and domestic events,
interests, and philosophies that prompted attacks on civil
Standard 11.7: Students analyze America's participation
in WWII. Students analyze the roles and growing political
demands of African Americans.
Standard 11.11: Students analyze the major
social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary
American society. Explain how federal, state and local governments
have responded to democratic and social changes such as racial
concentration in cities.
HS Principles of American Democracy & Economics Grade
Standard 12.8: Students evaluate and take and
defend positions on the influence of the media on American
political life. Discuss the meaning and importance of a free
and reasonable press.
HS English-Language Arts Grades 9 & 10
Standard 2.0: Students can read and understand
grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational
patterns, arguments, and positions advanced.
Standard 2.5: Extend ideas presented in primary
and secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation,
Standard 1.3: Use clear research questions
and suitable research methods (e.g., library, electronic media,
personal interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary
and secondary sources.
Standard 2.4: Use specific rhetorical devices
to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning;
appeal to emotion on ethical belief)
HS English-Language Arts Grades 11 & 12
Standard 1.0: Students write coherent and focused
texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned
argument. The writing demonstrates the students' awareness
of the audience.
Standard 1.2: Use a point of view, characterization,
style, and related elements for specific rhetorical and aesthetic
Standard 1.6: Develop presentations by using
clear research questions and creative and critical research
strategies (e.g. field studies, oral histories, interviews,
experiments, electronic sources)
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