The Final Call Editor In Chief Shares Newspaper InsightBy Jada VanderpoolThe Spokesman | Last updated: Sep 16, 2013 - 5:57:53 PM
(FinalCall.com) - Richard Muhammad, Morgan State University alum and editor in chief of The Final Call newspaper spoke in an open interview with Professor E.R. Shipp on the state and future of the paper on Aug. 29. The publication serves as the official communications organ of the Nation of Islam and circulates in North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.
“Our concern is naturally for community,” said Muhammad. “We try to keep the editorial [separate], however like any news organization, you choose news based on what you feel is important.”
Muhammad says The Final Call does not take advertisements and survives off of direct sales from the Fruit of Islam, but must make adjustments for revenue, including a limit to content availability online. “I philosophically hate that but it’s reality.”
One of Final Call’s recent big packages was their coverage of Martin Luther King’s 50th anniversary commemoration and the economic, job and voting issues discussed at the event. “What’s coming after this, what should we be talking about … where is this going? Do we have to sit another 50 years?” he said.
Muhammad conveyed Final Call and the Nation of Islam’s thoughts on Minister Louis Farrakhan not being invited to the March on Washington. “I did an editorial on that two weeks ago, and I raised the question: is this man not being invited again because we’re more concerned about what others think about us as opposed to dealing with this crisis?” said the editor. Minister Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam has been praised and criticized nationwide for his political and social views in the African American community.
“We reached out to Reverend Al Sharpton and asked him to tell us and he never responded. But we do know that historically in 1993, the Minister was invited and then uninvited to attend the march.” Sharpton was the leading organizer of the Dream March.
Muhammad also spoke directly to students on how to succeed in the communications field. “Morgan should be an incubator or womb for you all … but you got to be involved in some way,” he said, referring to organization participation on campus. While at Morgan, he was a public relations intern for the Agricultural department and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. “Yes Morgan,” Muhammad said with joy for his alma mater.
Shipp believes the newspaper is a great read for students and African descendants. “People who are not members of the Nation of Islam may be put off by all the religious content and the messages from Minister Louis Farrakhan, but the newspaper does offer news of the African diaspora that cannot be easily found elsewhere,” said Shipp.
The Final Call newspaper aims to be more digitally inclined and is currently working on an app.
(This article originally appeared in The Spokesman, www.themsuspokesman.com, the campus newspaper for Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.)