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FAU’s First, Black-Led Newspaper Wants To Be The Voice For Underrepresented Students

Kennedy McKinney (center, with the red dress) is the founder of The Paradigm Press, Florida Atlantic University's first Black newspaper. Staff photo.
The Paradigm Press
Kennedy McKinney (center, with the red dress) is the founder of The Paradigm Press, Florida Atlantic University's first Black newspaper.

"We launched the program because of the lack of coverage that the Black community was receiving from the FAU's official student newspaper."

The Paradigm Press is Florida Atlantic University’s first, Black-led newspaper. The online paper covers unique triumphs and challenges of student life in Boca Raton, and the niche, trending topics within FAU’s multi-ethnic Black community.

Kennedy McKinney is the founder and editor-in-chief. The journalism major says the paper is already making an impact on campus.

"So, for instance, we had some fees that were being incurred for the housing lawn, which was an area that the Black community used for almost every event. This new fee caused many organizations not to be able to use the lawn," McKinney said.

"We had an article about it and we challenged the school as to why there was a fee to use an area that we thought was already paid for in our tuition. We covered that story and then it ended up getting so much press that the fee is now gone."

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McKinney, a sophomore, says the paper launched in March because of what she and other students saw as inadequate coverage of the school's Black community from FAU's official student newspaper. And she also felt inspired by the wave of campus activities from her Black colleagues.

"So the reason we wanted to do that [launching the paper] was because when I came to FAU as a freshman, there were so many things that the Black community was doing within the school," McKinney said. "We had Greek life and we had students who were coming up with fundraiser ideas for the community."

The Paradigm Press staff started with grassroots efforts like setting up tables and passing fliers to students walking through The Breezeway, the campus' popular thoroughfare. McKinney says the paper is focused on solidifying its presence on every social media platform. And FAU's communication department will help provide more resources next school year.

Their main readership, McKinney says, is anyone in the FAU community who is interested in Black-related topics. The nine writers, one photographer, three editors and a marketing team will produce a range of reported stories, opinion pieces, podcasts, and advice columns in 2021.

Launching the first Black-led paper with her team came as a surprise.

"Well, when I did it, I didn't know that it was the first Black-led newspaper," McKinney said. "So when I found out that it was the first one it was very exciting. And I'm happy that I have the chance to do it."

"We have a lot of supporters from the journalism community and the FAU community."

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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