By Thomas L Blair 26 October 2017 ©
Part 4. Vanessa Thorpe interview with Professor Blair October 1997 concludes:
“Exposing the uncaring, incurious and often culturally ignorant urban planners is one of our special tasks says Professor Blair, editor and publisher of The Chronicleworld.
He remembers a group who were busy setting up health services in council-run estates with many black residents. “Would there be, the Professor asked, provision for mobile surgeries to test for sickle cell anaemia? The planners had never even heard of this destructive inherited disorder among African and Afro-Caribbean communities.
“Fuelled by such encounters, the professor decided to publish and fund his own quarterly online magazine. He is, he says, eager to attract support and finance from others for the Chronicleworld project.
“But he stresses that the whole point of The Chronicleworld is that it is cheap to produce. Furthermore, it offers a platform for the voices of the unheard and expands digital diversity. This is exactly why the internet has fantastic potential. We can just ‘have a go’ without compromise or depending on grants and advertising income.
“Therefore, without fear or favour, The Chronicleworld can go online with the works of cultural activists and public intellectuals. The Trinidadian poet and essayist John La Rose, the elder statesman of Britain’s black communities, features in a current issue. The Caribbean’s unofficial cultural ambassador in Britain, the outspoken Grenadian Alex Pascall, writes about the radical news-telling role of celebrated calypsonians.
“There will also be a regular page put together by Professor Blair, dealing with urban policy. It is called ‘Regeneration Time’, and it will be devoted to providing practical solutions for dealing with black life in the modern world.”
“So far the online magazine has attracted hundreds of hits. Judging by the success of similar black projects, such as American Visions Society online in the US and the Jamaican-influenced British online magazine Yush which earns itself about 50,000 hits a week, the professor may well be tapping into one of the most rapidly expanding areas of Net interest.
“It will be important, though, he knows, to keep tabs on his audience. As a serious and academic enterprise, at first The Chronicleworld is bound to be talking mainly to professionals and students, yet the professor can see no reason for his reach to end there.
“We could act as a focal point for debating the problems and the prospects of all black urban communities, precisely because they are a group that is not reflected in the media.
“The Chronicleworld will argue that we must end the policy of ‘colour blindness’. We have to allow special enhancement for areas where there are large black populations living in difficult conditions.”
“One area that is crying out for such positive social discrimination is the white-dominated media itself, Professor Blair believes. Moreover, he says, his own journal can offer practical help in combating race-focused hate attacks.
*Part 4. of New Century Black Britain .Writings from a Cyber-Scholar’s Journal – On the Chronicleworld’s 20th anniversary 1997-2017.
End of The October 1997 Interview with Professor Blair by Vanessa Thorpe, News and feature writer on arts and media for The Observer and The Guardian.
Your comments are welcome.
COMING UP NEXT
Rewind: Why is London, with all its contradictory potential, the proving ground for Black advancement? Publisher professor Thomas L Blair debated the issues, examined social problems and promoted new Black policy agendas in the 1st Edition of the Chronicleworld, October 1997.