City Desk

Informer Supporters Rally Over City Ad Contract

Praise for the Washington Informer and slams on the Washington Times were the order of the day at a pro-Informer rally this morning, as the dispute over whether the Washington Informer qualifies as a "newspaper of general circulation"—and thus, deserved a shot at a city contract for an unclaimed property ad that went to the Times—rolls on.

"It is not the fault of the Washington Informer because some people do not read it," said activist Yango Sawyer at the Judiciary Square press conference, which was attended by around 20 supporters.

Several speakers spoke about how, despite the paper's focus on black Washington, it can be found all over the District. The Washington Times, on the other hand...

"You can't nowhere find a Washington Times paper—at Ben's Chili Bowl, at the playground," said WPFW host Roach Brown, who went on to remind his audience about the paper's connections to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Informer owner and publisher Denise Rolark Barnes and her attorney, Johnny Barnes, handed in an appeal to the contract award after the press conference. The paper's appeal argues, among other things, that the Informer has won city contracts in the past and that it deserves preferential treatment as one of Washington's two Certified Business Enterprise newspapers (the Northwest Current is the other).

"This bunch of bureaucrats said you're not qualified because you appeal to black people," Johnny Barnes said. On the contrary, Barnes argued, the Informer has that prized general audience. The Times' audience, according to Barnes, is no mystery.

"We would suggest conservative Republicans," Barnes said. "They don't have any unclaimed property!"

Photo by Will Sommer

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  • Jay

    The Informer? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Nobody reads that crap!

  • iknewthehellbetter

    Only twenty people at the rally??? I guess the Informer didn't 'inform' too many people about it...

  • Kathy Sinzinger

    D.C. has been playing politics with government ads for years. In fact, the city started a period of awarding the unclaimed property ad contract only to daily newspapers after my former newspaper, The Common Denominator, actually won the bid one time and was in the process of preparing to publish the ad when city bureaucrats suddenly decided -- while we were on deadline -- that we couldn't win the bid because of their lame definition (at that time) of a "general circulation newspaper" being a daily newspaper. Of course, until The Common Denominator won the bid, I believe either the Afro-American or the Informer (neither of which is daily) had been regularly awarded the contract for publication.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Stay black

  • Common Sense

    I didn't know 20 people read the Informer. The Informer has survived for nearly five decades because of minority set aside ads. The first time they dont get a donation they start a protest? And only 20 people show up? The only local ads in the Informer are freebies. No local company, and especially not the District government, should burn money by buying ad space in the Informer.

  • Typical DC BS

    HA. Love the quote "You can't nowhere find a Washington Times newspaper...". Mr. Roach, are you showing that fine DC education in English you received before you dropped out, or are you just "keepin it real?"