By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY â€“ It is with tremendous sadness FRNJ has learned the passing of publisher and friend Earl Harvey Monday.
Harvey was introduced to me by friends from RockLife Church in Swedesboro nearly two years ago at the birth of Front Runner New Jersey.com. From there, we became instant friends and comrades, shared stories and helped with content for our publications, locally here the AC Times. In Philadelphia, he was the longtime publisher of the Black Professionals News.
In an email he sent me Sunday, he shared his feelings with me about the minority media being represented in the Atlantic City mayoral debate on Tuesday. Friend and former national NABJ president Sarah Glover shared with me a video of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists honoring Harvey with its Community Service Award in 2014. The video is below.
In July, we were both on the Atlantic City NAACP radio program “The NAACP Speaks” together and we had talked about increasing our content sharing. He gladly showed me the ropes of the media landscape in South Jersey will always remember his kindness and fellowship.
Harvey emailed me answers on Oct. 6 for a story I was preparing on him for Front Runner New Jersey.com. In his own words, below are Earl’s answers in their entirety as a tribute to my brother and friends.
FRNJ: Tell me about your how you got started in the media? Are you a native?
Earl Harvey: I have always had a love for mass media, as a child my favorite possession was my transistor radio. I would sleep with it under my pillow. It was AM back then! My local drug store had a newer version in the store window it had FM on it and my parents knew my love for radio, they gave that radio to me for Christmas much to my delight. How radio and TV could magically transform invisible waves into sound and image was fascinating to me so a major in Radio, Television and Film and a minor in Journalism at Temple University came naturally to me. I was also born with a “gift of gab” which helps being a media professional, and I appeared on television and in newspapers as a child so I was comfortable with media. Sometimes life picks you instead of the other way around. My father and his siblings were born in Atlantic City so this has always been home for us. I was born in Philadelphia but Atlantic City is my second home and my family has always had a house here where I currently reside.
FRNJ: Tell me specifically about your Black Professionals publication and the AC Times. What let you to start both?
Earl Harvey: I began publishing about 20 years ago, I have always had an entrepreneur spirit. I saw an opportunity to build a media platform devoted to the small business niche in the tri state region, a segment that was being totally ignored in other mainstream publications. Most newspapers are focused on local and international news, sensationalism and tabloid style journalism. I saw that businesspeople, particularly businesses of color were largely ignored. I know access to information is critical to business owners for success so I created that space by publishing The Black Professionals News, a free community newspaper for professional service providers, nonprofits, and business owners.
I was the first newspaper in the region to go online when I realized I could reach more people with the click of a mouse that I ever could with physical distribution. I began emailing my newspaper nationally to over 2000 people, it was quite innovative at that time when websites were not the norm and mass mailers like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp were not in operation. It took quite a bit of maneuvering on AOL in the early 2000’s but I realized that the Internet was the future of mass media and I wanted to get ahead of the curve.
I relocated to Atlantic City and distributed The Black Professionals News and many residents told me that wanted a free community based local newspaper. I was always a fan of the Whoot newspaper in Atlantic City but they changed their format to entertainment after they were acquired which is very profitable in a casino town but I saw the need to provide more community based information. Also Atlantic City is so rich with cultural diversity I wanted to produce a publication that spoke to and represented all of its residents. I launched the Atlantic City (AC) Times in 2015.
FRNJ: Can you talk about the continued importance of Black media, especially in this age where there is so much disinformation?
Earl Harvey: Black owned media outlets have always been a trusted source for information for the Black community which was often ignored by mainstream media. Dating back to the early 1800’s Black owned newspapers were advocates for abolishing slavery and discrimination, and used to sway public opinion for residents and public officials. That tradition continued after the Civil War and throughout the Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Civil Rights periods. Black newspapers offered opportunities for Blacks to relocate and they helped create the Great Migration from the Southern states to the North and West as Black people sought to escape violence and look for work in other parts of the country. Newspapers were also used to reunite families sold and separated during slavery with relatives placing articles and advertisements.
That mission to inform , educate and entertain, still holds true today for Black media companies . In this digital age where basically anyone with a cell phone and computer can publish uncensored unverified information on the Internet, Black media outlets are sought after even more as a source for trusted information. The concept and creation of “Fake News” has been introduced on social media primarily which encourages consumers to verify their news sources.
FRNJ: What other publications and events are you involved with? Why?
Earl Harvey: As a community-based publisher I try to use my media outlets to uplift and empower the communities we serve. I make myself available to attend small local events because these events are often ignored by other media. It’s important for people to see themselves reflected in the media in a positive light when so many times the mainstream media only presents negative images. We don’t publish “bad news” we focus on “good news” which really is the biggest category. I do work with other community based newspapers throughout the region,, we reach the same audience and we all try to support each other.
FRNJ: Anything else you’d like to add? Just whatever you’d like to share. Thanks.
Earl Harvey: The future of mass media is quite exciting; we are in an age of 24 hour news and entertainment cycles so it’s never a dull moment. I encourage young people who like working in a fast paced environment to consider media as a career choice. It’s a global industry and there will be jobs available as it continues to grow.