Al McFarlane, Now
Al McFarlane, 1974
Information, Instruction, Inspiration in a user-friendly, culturally relevant communications vehicle
Providing preferred access to Black consumers for businesses, agencies, and organizations.
Insight News started in 1974 as a color-cover magazine based in and serving Minneapolis’ African American north side. It was owned by Graphic Services, Inc., a general printing and magazine publishing firm in Northeast Minneapolis. Al McFarlane, headed the Midwest Public Relations division of Graphic Services.
McFarlane, a 26 year-old media enthusiast, had previously worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a reporter and for General Mills in public relations. He purchased rights to Insight News in 1975 and began publishing as a community newspaper in 1976.
Conceived as a free to the reader, advertiser supported newspaper, Insight News was at the forefront of a burgeoning neighborhood and community newspaper industry in Twin Cities. Insight News found its niche by providing concentrated distribution, both door-to-door and newsstand delivery, in communities that had least effective penetration by the daily newspapers.
In addition, Insight News tackled tougher stories than its competitors, with a strident, yet, professional voice. Insight championed the idea of culture as an asset, not a liability, in a marketplace that would soon be transformed by waves immigration of African Americans from Chicago, Gary, and Kansas City, and by Africans from, Lagos, Accra, Mogedishu and Addis Ababa, joined by Spanish speaking immigrants from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and by Asian immigrants from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
McFarlane and Insight News supported the creation of other newspapers serving communities of color. He organized ethnic newspaper owners to form the Minnesota Minority Media Coaliton. In 1996 Insight News became the first African American-owned publication in Minnesota to establish a presence on the World Wide Web. As one of only a handful of Black newspapers on the Internet, Insight News has enabled readers all over the world access to its unique brand of journalism.
In 1997 Insight News once again distinguished itself from its competitors by initiating a series of public policy forums. In partnership with community radio station KMOJ, Insight has brought the people who would serve the community in elected office, in education and in business to meet African American voters and consumers face to face.
A piece about Insight News and the Multicultural Media Consortium’s operations in the early 90s.