Document Type


Date of Award



School of Communication (SOC)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

First Advisor

Professor E. Bun Lee


Just a few years ago, a student had to visit the library and search through the card catalog to do research; a mother had to stand in line to purchase movie tickets for her children; spouses of soldiers at war had to wait days for a letter to arrive from his/her significant other serving time overseas; and the list goes on. Today, all of this has changed - the advent of the Internet has revolutionized the lives of every individual across the globe in many ways. Students may now access the library card catalog online; a mother may purchase movie tickets in advance online; and spouses may communicate in real time via electronic mail (e-mail). The Internet makes all of this possible. This phenomenon has been the main source feeding globalization and, in essence, assisting in making the world smaller. We have the ability to communicate with anyone, at any time, anywhere on the planet, as well as make purchases without leaving the comfort of our homes. Obviously, this powerful tool, if used wisely, can be a huge asset for any business, especially the media. The news media thrives on immediacy and the percentage of people who are actually reading, viewing, and listening to their news stories. The quicker a story is published and distributed, the better, and the Internet provides unprecedented immediacy 1 2 and access to the world' s population; therefore, some media outlets have taken a huge interest in the Internet and what it can offer. Others have not. Representatives from 14 African-American publications in Dallas and Houston, the most populated cities in Texas, were surveyed in September 2003. Additionally, 24 public relations professionals from two of the nation's leading agencies, Hill and Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard, were surveyed to gain insight on their perception of working with African-American media outlets and provide counsel on how to improve overall perception of these publications . . Getting African-American publications in the targeted areas to complete the . survey proved to be somewhat challenging. Only three provided feedback - two answered the survey and one explained why she wouldn't answer it. Nonetheless, answers from the two who completed it, coupled with personal research yielded some results. Findings show that, as a whole, black newspapers and magazines in Dallas and Houston are not taking full advantage of the Internet. The majority of these publications have sites that are unavailable, have very little content and interactivity, and are not updated regularly. This is because of lack of funding. Most black publications do not have the wherewithal to maintain a web site. Though, the few that do host web sites to compliment their hub publication do a fair job of taking full advantage of all the benefits such as graphics, hyperlinks, and navigational tools. Content is news oriented with special pages for features like original poetry, religious perspectives, and community news highlighting successful blacks, from students to government officials. . There is a consensus among public relations professionals that the Internet is extremely beneficial for media outlets. They are appreciative of any outlet that makes 3 use of it for many reasons. Currently, they do not have a strong awareness of African American publications in their respective cities. This is due to the fact that most of these publications do not have an online presence and are not generated in database and Internet searches that public relations professionals frequently conduct. Having an easy to-use, content-rich web site gives public relations professionals the information they need in order to reach these publications should they be interested in pitching one of their client' s stories. This could lead to increased visibility among businesses and future advertising dollars, yielding an increase in revenue. Results �rom each survey prove that web sites enhance a publication's reputation, credibility, readership, and revenue. The survival of periodicals that target blacks may depend on the importance they place on becoming part of the digital environment by developing and maintaining a web site to enhance their hub publication.