For nearly 90 years, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) has been recognized as a trusted voice for the Black communities of Minnesota. Founder and civil rights activist, Cecil Newman, arrived in Minneapolis in 1934, starting not one, but two newspapers to cover human interest stories from a Black perspective in and around the Twin Cities. Years later, the paper merged when third generation publisher Tracey Williams-Dillard successfully steered her grandfather’s business into the digital era. While revenues are currently outpacing industry norms, Tracey’s goal of appealing to younger subscribers is falling short.
With a mission of bringing fresh ideas to MSR’s overall media strategy, Deluxe called on Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, publisher, CEO and fourth generation to run Afro-American news in Baltimore, Maryland. Toni’s strategic moves in social media and creative resourcing have led to Afro.com’s doubling their sales. In that same spirit, the team from Deluxe looks for ways to bring youthful appeal to the paper’s brand while paying homage to its profound history. Watch the transformation unfold for this longest-standing, family-owned newspaper in the country.