Florida Matters: Ethnic Newspapers In Tampa Bay
One of the area's leading African American family-owned newspapers, The Weekly Challenger in St. Petersburg, just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Tampa's preeminent Hispanic newspaper, La Gaceta, is approaching 100 years. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the history and cultural impact of ethnic publications in the Tampa Bay area.
Since 1967, The Weekly Challenger has been a source for news and information for the African American communities of Tampa Bay. The paper was founded by Cleveland Johnson, Jr. His wife Ethel Johnson took over after his death in 2001. She passed it down to their daughter Lyn in 2012.
La Gaceta is a weekly newspaper in Tampa founded by Victoriano Manteiga in 1922. Published in English, Spanish and Italian, it's the only trilingual newspaper in the United States. Victoriano Manteiga passed the publication down to his son Roland after his death in 1982. Roland's son Patrick Manteiga inherited ownership in 1998.
We'll learn more about how these newspapers got their start this week on Florida Matters. We'll hear about how the evolving state of race relations in the Tampa Bay area over the past several decades has played a role in the content and popularity of minority publications. We'll also discuss how these newspapers plan to stay afloat in an increasingly digital society.
Our guests include:
- Lyn Johnson, editor and publisher of The Weekly Challenger
- Patrick Manteiga, editor and publisher of La Gaceta
- Rodney Kite-Powell, Director of the Touchton Map Library and Saunders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center
Follow the links above to view these newspapers' most recent stories. And step back in time and read old editions of the publications by checking out these links to archives:
- The Weekly Challenger's digital archives at USF St. Petersburg's Nelson Poynter Memorial Library
- La Gaceta's digital archives at the University of Florida's George A. Smathers Libraries
- Old editions of La Gaceta as well as photographs and letters to its founders, part of USF Tampa Libraries' Digital Collections
The digital archiving projects are ongoing, so if you have any old copies of these newspapers you would like to contribute, reach out to either the publication or library and learn more about how you can help preserve history.
Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1
Robin Trohn Sussingham is a reporter and program host at WUSF Public Broadcasting, and is the producer of Florida Matters. She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and also has an extensive background in print reporting. She was born in Lakeland and often reports about Polk County.
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