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Will Jones: Online Publisher

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Will Jones: Online Publisher

On March 10, Jones, who also runs his own graphic design and photography business, and his partner, former New York State Senator Antoine Thompson, launched their new online venture, The website, which has been in the planning stages for over a year, hopes to become not just news and information website but a social gathering point tailored to reach Buffalo’s African-American community.

What are you hoping to accomplish with What role would you like to see it eventually play in community?

We want to provide an Internet voice for the Western New York African-American community. We’d like it to ultimately serve as everything from a newspaper, to an all-purpose magazine, to an informational directory, to an uplifting medium for the dissemination of stories about all that is right and good in this community.

Do you believe the black community is underserved by the existing local media? What are some stories or topics in particular you believe have not received the attention they deserve?

Yes. We want to let people know about all the good people who are doing good things to help others in this community but who never see the light of day in the mainstream media. Plus anything that effects the community that needs more attention. We want to highlight things like health, money, jobs, schools, and so on.

In that vein, what are some of the most pressing issues facing the black community in Buffalo today?

1. Education. Not only are our children getting a subpar education, our adults are not becoming educated in the fields/areas needed to serve the community. 2. Health. Too many of us are unable to function optimally due to avoidable health issues. These issues include dental. 3. Our culture. We need to highlight our culture interactions more and get our community involved more.

What does the involvement of Antoine Thompson mean to the project? Are you concerned about your ability to cover local politicians objectively with him on staff?

Many media outlets have hired former elected officials or staffers. Antoine’s involvement will be positive and significant in that he not only brings a wealth of experience and insight to the project, he has great contacts throughout the region and, like myself, is very energized by this new venture. Politics is not the primary focus, so I don’t see that as an issue. And even when we do deal with politics, Antoine, again, comes with a wealth of experience and he is basically balanced in his thinking. He knows the political landscape. That can only be a plus.

How are you planning on getting the message of BlackWNY out on the streets? What kind of buzz are you hoping to develop?

We’re going to be constantly marketing and promoting BlackWNY throughout the city and community by way of local print media and the airwaves, attending events and hosting our own events and promotions, co-sponsoring others etc. I think the initial “Buzz” has already been created—that is the place you want to check out to stay informed and updated about whatever is happening in the African American community. We just have to keep the interest and grown the numbers as creatively and innovatively as we can.

BONUS: Local media websites have had great trouble monitoring the offensive content of their story comments. How does this impact black participation in social news media?

We may not be so anxious to go to a site where comments are racially charged and derogatory towards African Americans. But that’s why BlackWNY is so important because it provides the African American community with its own online vehicle for news, views, profiles, and, very importantly, comments and opinions.

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