Arkansas has a new independent online news publication that aims to represent minorities in the media. the Arkansas Delta Informant is Pine Bluff’s first black-owned news portal that will report on local, state and national issues on a grassroots level.

According to a press release, the local civic leader and CEO of the Delta Informant, Michael McCray, led a group of community activists in Pine Bluff to give voice to the African American community on a wide range of issues.

Wesley Brown, editor of Delta Informant and the Little Rock-based company Daily recording, said the community activist group approached him about how black people were portrayed negatively in the media in the Pine Bluff and Delta area. Using his 45 years of experience in the news business, Brown and the activists have worked together over the past six months to develop a plan for the news site.

“My role is to help them run the news, get them up and running, and get to a point where they can start hiring an editor and have part-time reporters,” Brown said. “I’m just kind of a partner to help them get started, and then hopefully at some point I’ll hand it over to them and they can continue to run the news organization.”

For now, Brown said the Delta Informant will be a general news organization that will cover everything from politics to current events in the local communities of Pine Bluff, Southeast Arkansas and the Delta area.

Brown said the publication’s mission is to disseminate unbiased information and seek truth, which he said has been a problem in the media, especially when it comes to minorities.

“We are in a period where a lot of lies are presented in the media as being the truth. Often it affects us. You have critical race theory, voter identity, and the lie that the election was stolen just because record numbers of black people came to the polls, and the mainstream media, of which I am a part, have not told the truth on these matters. It puts us, black people, in a negative light,” Brown said.

Beginning his career as a journalist in the late 1970s, Brown has since worked on Wall Street, for the Tulsa World daily, became the publisher of Arkansas Black Consumer News, and more. Despite decades of media experience, Brown said he was still usually the first and often the only black person in the newsroom.

“There’s a perspective missing, there’s a voice missing,” Brown said.

“Our state newspaper here in Little Rock has no diversity, ever.”

Brown hopes he will see more diversity in the newsroom because issues that affect minorities are not addressed from their perspective.

“Let’s take an issue like voter ID that happened at the State Capitol. Some of these stories didn’t even have a black perspective. All of those 25 voter ID laws that were passed by the legislature affected us – they disenfranchised black people. Most laws passed by the General Assembly often have a negative impact. Critical race theory, school board policies, these are all issues that affect us and we should have a say in these conversations,” Brown said.

The publication was launched on May 14, just over a week before the primary elections, which the Delta Informant plans to cover. Brown said he had read stories about some of the candidates that would have been considered contempt 10 or 15 years ago.

“You have a record number of black women in Arkansas running. Why isn’t this story on the front page? You have two historic black candidates running for the Democratic Party, plus his brother running for Attorney General. It’s a unique story. There are many unique stories in the political process that are not being told. There are a lot of racism whistles in racing that go unreported,” Brown said.

Brown and McCray are also working to develop an opinion portal called the Delta perspective to offer different perspectives on race, justice and other issues in black and minority communities. Brown said he hopes to recruit an editor and press team in the coming weeks.