Bay State Banner
|Publisher||Melvin B. Miller|
|Editor||Melvin B. Miller|
The Bay State Banner is an independent newspaper primarily geared toward the readership interests of the African-American community in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bay State Banner was founded in 1965 by Melvin B. Miller who remains the chief editor and publisher. In 2015, the publication celebrated its 50th anniversary serving the region's minority-oriented neighborhoods.
Notable journalists who have worked at the Bay State Banner include PBS host Gwen Ifill, NPR commentator Robin Washington, and Bryant Rollins, a former Boston Globe reporter, community activist and author, who served as the Banner's first editor.
The Bay State Banner was started in 1965 by Melvin B. Miller, who remains the newspaper’s chief editor and publisher, with the help of his brother Jack Miller. A native of Boston, Miller is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Harvard University, and Columbia Law School, and has had an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters conferred on him by Suffolk University and Emerson College.
The Bay State Banner’s first issue, on September 25th, 1965, ran with a headline reading “What’s Wrong With Our Schools?” next to photographs of the Gibson School in Dorchester, which had an all-black student population, and the newly opened Henry Grew School in predominantly white Hyde Park.
The Banner' initial format was a 10-page broadsheet, switching to a tabloid in 1968. In 2005, the paper's staff of 20 produced issues up to 40 pages long, distributed on Thursdays.
In April 1966, less than a year after The Bay State Banner was founded, it went out of business for four weeks due to a lack of advertising revenue, the headline read "Banner Being Forced Out Of Business." Almost immediately after the paper folded, community residents formed a Committee to Save the Banner, which put pressure on local businesses to advertise in order to support the paper. Four weeks later the Banner was back on the stands.
The Bay State Banner suspended publication on July 9, 2009, laying off its staff of 12. In the last edition of the paper before this suspension Publisher Melvin B. Miller summarized he was looking for investors in order to resume publication, but that the banner’s free-distribution of 30,000 copies was not sustainable in the face of falling ad revenue. Harvard University law professor Charles Ogletree started lining up investors to save The Bay State Banner  but the publication ended up accepting a $200,000 bailout loan by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino from the Boston Local Development Corp., a nonprofit administered by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Miller said the loan would help the paper survive while it arranges a new business plan with Next Street Financial LLC, a financial services company. Boston Local Development, the nonprofit arranging the loan, has made similar loans to local businesses, including a coffee shop and bicycle company. Menino had been running for reelection at the time and had often been criticized by the Banner, which at one point suggested in an editorial that he step down from office. Menino said he was not trying to influence the paper with the loan offer, but wanted to "help a business that is very important to the minority community."
- "Boston Black Weekly, 'Bay State Banner,' Suspends Publication." Editor & Publisher, 7 July 2009. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.
- McBride, James. "The Bay State Banner: the paper and the publisher." Boston Globe. November 22, 1981. Accessed 29 Oct 2017.
- "Melvin B. Miller." N.d. Bay State Banner.
- Wright O'Conner, Brian. “Banner Has Recorded 50 Years of History.” The Bay State Banner, 4 Feb. 2015.
- Samuels, Adrienne P. "Raising a Banner Celebration; forty years ago, a black journalist answered the call." Boston Globe. Oct 29 2005. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.
- "Boston City Loan Will Keep 'Bay State Banner' Flying." Editor & Publisher, 20 July 2009. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.
- "The Banner's Questionable Loan." Boston Globe Jul 21 2009. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.