"The main task of the Black press...was to tell the truth about race relations in America...Black journalists should point out injustices in the administration of law and publicize the lack of equality of opportunities"(Suggs, 1987). The Indianapolis Recorder has never reached the status of the Afro-American. Its accolades and achivements are not as extensive nor have they particpated in highly publicized crusades or launched nationwide community campaigns in poor, underserved areas. The paper is highly respected, however, and has been "known...for its devotion to covering the news of the Indiana metropolis..."(Wolsely, 1971). This informative zeal has not been lost as the paper made the transition from print media to online publication.
The online publication of the Indianapolis Recorder looks just like the print version. Upon first observation, the word "shovelware" immediately comes to mind. The main page perfectly resembles the front page of the paper. The name has not even been changed to exhibit its difference from the print paper. The purpose of this site, however, is to inform the Black community of metropolitan Indianapolis of local news. There is really no need to impress anyone with changes in an online version.
The content is no different from what you would find in a weekly copy of the Recorder. The main page directs you to different pages of the site just as the table of contents does on the front page of the newspaper. This appears to be both an asset and a liability for this website. If I can locate this same information in the same format in a print version of the Recorder, why would I bother to look at the online version? There is nothing new or exciting offered. On the other hand, the content of the site is new for those unable to obtain copies of the paper. It is really not trying to capture the attention of readers outside of the city limits. Granted, information concerning the TV Guide listings or Lottery results for that area are not important to the everyday user. But who can't use contemporary recipes of Southern favorites, a dose of spiritual guidance or a glance at Black History Month every day? In essence, this site is seeking to reach mainly those interested in the news the print version of the Recorder offers, but it has some content that can also interest any person outside of the city who wants information on Blacks in Indianapolis.
As previously stated, the online Recorder is designed to perfectly resemble the print version. This leaves people familiar with the paper to either feel comformtable with the site or disgusted at the lack of originality. The use of bright African colors is a plus. The red (symbolizing the blood of the people), the black (symbolizing the beauty of the Black people) and the green (symbolizing mother Africa and past days of lush flora), as well as horizontal bars with a kente patterns, exhibit its pride in African-American ancestry as news is provided for its people. Space is used somewhat more effectively than in Afro-Americ@. This allows for ease in navigation. There are not a lot of options once you click on a section. Information is provided as requested.
In terms of customizability, this website is totally incapable of performing this function. One can also register with the paper to receive e-mail messages about changes in the paper, but news is not included in this information. It seems sensible, though. The news in the online Recorder is already generalized and localized for the city's Black residents; therefore, there's no reason to modify the information any further. The level of interactivity is limited to a link to the Webmaster. Unlike Afro-Americ@ top-level executives can not be reached for comment. It is my belief that the online Recorder does not take full advantage of its medium. Either way, it is nice to see an original member of the black press in its 104th year of publication.
Advertising for the online Recorder is almost non-existent. There are no actual companies vying for the reader's attention. There isn't even an e-mail link to someone in charge of advertising. In actuality, ads are confined to organizations that provide the online paper with services, such as ListBot and IndyNet. For this reason, they seem to be more like plugs. The online Recorder is not trying to capture any consumer, whether Black or not.