Bright Spot: The Tri-State Defender

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(Memphis) For over 60 years, The Tri-State Defender has been covering the news and issues in the Mid-South that are most important to African-Americans.

Today the paper is revamping and preparing to serve a new generation of readers.

Started in 1951, the paper like many publications across the country is looking for new ways to engage its readers.

President and publisher Bernal Smith says, "We are going to a new format. We have a new logo that we've launched. We are going to a more modern, contemporary way to reach our readers."

Since Smith took over at The Tri-State Defender two years ago, the paper has undergone major changes.

The website has been updated and the paper now has a presence on social media. "We have well over 7,000 friends on Facebook and a pretty significant following on Twitter," says Smith.

Bernal Smith says the question he's asked most about the paper is, "is it still relevant?"  His answer is an emphatic "yes."  "Ultimately, what we're trying to do is tell the stories of people in our community that very seldomly get told other places."

The paper is also making strides in reaching a younger reading audience.

Bernal Smith says that's because of new events like this week's Best in Black Awards that will take place Thursday night at the Cannon Center. "This is their publication. This is somewhere they can be highlighted, they can be celebrated, they can share news and information and get news and information," says Smith.

Bernal Smith says readers can expect to see the new look Tri-State Defender in a few weeks. He says it will be easier to read with a bolder, more colorful layout and it'll be available in more locations.

To view the newspaper's website, CLICK HERE.