BCN Staff – May 16, 2022 – A group of community activists led by local entrepreneur and civic leader Michael McCray today introduced a new online news publication to offer grassroots views and reporting for Pine Bluff, Southeast Arkansas, and the Arkansas Delta. Addressing the need to provide more relevant and nuanced content pertinent to the African American community, the online newsgroup will give voice to more diverse issues than currently exists in local print media.
Called Arkansas Delta Informer, the new online site launched on Saturday (May 14, 2022), just ten days before the Preferential Primary Election on May 24. The local venture group developed the Delta Informer with the assistance of longtime Arkansas news veteran and capital reporter Wesley Brown, the publisher of The Daily Record in Little Rock and Black Consumer News of Arkansas.
As CEO of the Delta Informer, McCray will oversee the business operations of Arkansas’ newest Black-owned media platform. The Pine Bluff native will oversee regional marketing, advertising, and subscriber outreach to promote the online news site in the upcoming weeks. He is also working to raise startup capital to hire a full-time editor, reporter, and several freelancers. Additionally, the Delta Informer also will seek associate membership with the Arkansas Press Association over the next year as an online news organization.
McCray is a seasoned executive with over 12 years of experience in marketing and advertising. An alumnus of Georgetown Law with degrees from Howard University, American University, and Florida A&M University in film production, video and television, and business economics, McCray brings varied Fortune 500 experience to the Southeast Arkansas and Delta-focused news site. McCray decided to launch the Delta Informer with other key Pine Bluff investors because of his love for Jefferson County and the Delta and his passion for advocacy and free speech.
“A few years ago, a major investor said that the biggest detriment to outside investment in Pine Bluff was the quality of the news reporting. We once had award-winning journalists covering the news in our town. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. It was replaced by a sensational style of ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ reporting. Unfortunately, it lacks context and ignores good news and alternative viewpoints,” said McCray. “So, we asked longtime newspaperman Wesley Brown to partner with us to create the Arkansas Delta Informer and combat media disinformation. Our goal is to bring better news and improve media literacy in our community.”
As a partner in the venture, Brown will serve as the publication’s publisher and executive editor. In addition, he will develop the Delta Informer’s local, state, regional, and national news coverage. He will focus on unbiased and upbeat stories about the region’s people, places, politics, and cultural peculiarities.
Starting as a reporter with the former Hope Star newspaper in the late 1970s, Brown has been in the news business for nearly 45 years. He started his full-time career with the Tulsa (Okla.) World newspaper. He quickly rose through the ranks as the only African American staff reporter at a statewide newspaper in Oklahoma for several years.
During his time at the World, Brown was one of the first reporters in the nation to do in-depth reporting on the Tulsa Massacre. He was also part of an award-winning team of writers and photographers covering the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the nation’s largest domestic terrorist incident that claimed 168 lives. A few years later, Brown made the switch from crime and city beat reporting to business and financial writing, which he calls the best decision of his career.
Brown later worked on Wall Street in the late 1990s as the energy correspondent for Bridge News and Reuters business newswires. He joined the Stephens Media chain in Fayetteville as its new business editor in 2001 and later moved Brown to Little Rock to work as a business reporter at the State Capitol. His weekly award-winning Brown-on-Business column was published weekly in the former Pine Bluff Commercial Appeal.
“I love news, and I love the energy that Michael and his team are bringing to this venture. They came to me with a real problem of not seeing themselves and other minorities in the local newspaper in a good light or favorably. And that is the issue we hope to address with our news coverage in the Pine Bluff area and the Arkansas Delta,” said Brown.
Over the next few weeks, Brown will recruit an editor to oversee news coverage for the Pine Bluff area and Southeast Arkansas. A prolific reporter with expertise in politics, public policy, legislative, business and finance, and corporate and Wall Street news, Brown will also write and report on local, state, and national issues for the new online publication.
Brown and McCray are also developing a unique editorial/opinion portal called Delta Perspective. They will seek out diverse local, state, and national voices that offer a wide range of perspectives and grassroots views on race, justice, equity, politics, business, culture, public policy, and other matters important to Black and minority communities.
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