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The dean of today's black newspapers is the Philadelphia Tribune, which dates to 1885. Other publications with long histories are Baltimore's Afro-American, founded in 1892, the Indianapolis Recorder (1895), the Chicago Defender (1905), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1910). Determining which black-run papers enjoy the greatest circulation is virtually impossible, given that some are weeklies, others dailies, some are sold, and others distributed at no charge. Furthermore, some have verified circulations, but many don't.

The nonprofit Audit Bureau of Circulations, whose studies are valued by potential advertisers, can provide statistics only on member newspapers and doesn't offer a ranking.

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The Chicago Defender, a daily, claims one of the largest circulations in the country with 30,000 daily readers. It is not ABC audited, however, as are the average paid circulation figures of such black publications as New York's Amsterdam News (31,500), the Miami Times (26,700,) or the aforementioned Afro-American (11,600).

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