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Oral history interview with Robert M. Ratcliffe [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Ratcliffe, Robert M.
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :1 sound file : WAV files (44 kHz, 16 bit) Transcript: 36 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Robert M. Ratcliffe was born in Memphis in 1911. A graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College, he worked as the editor of the Memphis World, a black weekly, and later wrote for the Atlanta Daily World. Later, he became the edition editor of the Pittsburgh Courier. Eventually, he served as the director of public relations at LeMoyne-Owen College while continuing to work for black newspapers.

Scope and Contents

Henry G. La Brie's 1971 interview with Robert M. Ratcliffe begins with an overview of the narrator's experience with the black press. Ratcliffe then discusses the black press sensationalist reputation and the successes of the black press in integration and failures related to advertising. They discuss how the black press has changed, how it differs from the white press, and the specific ways it has helped African Americans. They then discuss the differences between the content of black newspapers in the North and South, with the coverage of the Emmett Till case as an example. Ratcliffe explains why there are relatively few black dailies and makes predictions about the future, including the prospects of a national black news service. The interview concludes with discussions of how black newspapers are financed, the most important section of a black newspaper, and the question of whether the mainstream press has become more representative.


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