Pittsburgh, PA Black Female Entrepreneur Spreads Goodwill Online and In Print through Her Award-Winning Media Company

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Representation is important and Donna Baxter Porche, as a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, saw the need for fair representation of Blacks in media. Donna visioned a platform that was a voice for Blacks and their stories. First, she created a website from her basement apartment as a hobby to teach herself web design. From there, she began documenting Black Pittsburgh online. Years later, she realized how much others could use this information, made the site public, registered her business, and became a major success story.

"Our platforms provide an engaging experience and a unique advertising opportunity for corporations, small businesses, and those desiring to reach this market."

With February marking Black History Month, The Patricia Green Group, a public relations agency, introduces you to Donna Baxter Porcher, Founder & CEO of Soul Pitt Media. When she launched her business, Donna leveraged her background as a former rap artist, a member of Generation X, and a Tech Diva. A University of Pittsburgh graduate, entrepreneur, wife, and dog mom with a moral mindset, Donna knew early that digital communication was the future while not forgetting the importance of print. Her award-winning print magazine and community website attract corporate and small business advertisers looking to connect with the Black community. Read the following interview and learn more.

1. Why did you launch Soul Pitt Media? 

I am passionate about providing a positive and accurate representation of the Black community, particularly in Pittsburgh. As a college freshman, I saw the need for a platform that served the Black community and provided a voice for their stories and experiences. I started the website from my basement apartment as a hobby to teach myself web design and began documenting Black Pittsburgh online. Years later, I realized how much others could use this information, made the site public, and registered my business around 2000.

Adapting to the digital age was a wise decision; my online presence grew tremendously. Jet Magazine was my inspiration with respect to its editorial format. Yet the publication struggled with declining circulation and advertising dollars and needed to adapt more quickly to the digital age. Not doing so ultimately led to its downfall. In response to market interest, I published a magazine and made it close to the size of Jet as a nod to the legendary publication. I allied with a network of distribution partners consisting of small mom-and-pop shops, salons, community centers, and grocery stores. Readers access my magazine free of charge and enjoy a tangible experience when visiting our distribution locations. 

2. What is unique about your company? 

Soul Pitt Media is unique in its commitment to promoting pride and excellence in the Black community through storytelling and education on issues impacting quality of life. We provide a platform for the voices and experiences of the Black community, which mainstream media often underrepresents. Our market reach extends throughout Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Our growing online presence allows us to reach wider audiences. Additionally, our print circulation reaches a multitude of people in the region. We provide positive representation and information on healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for the Black community. 

3. What do advertisers and sponsors gain through affiliation with Soul Pitt Media? 

Soul Pitt Media understands the intricate relationship between brands, content, and African-American consumers in Western Pennsylvania. As a result, our platforms provide an engaging experience and a unique advertising opportunity for corporations, small businesses, and those desiring to reach this market. Our relationships with socially responsible advertisers and sponsors enable us to offer readers access to valuable information and resources from organizations that share our commitment to promoting positive change in Black communities. For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) provides our readers with access to interviews with Black doctors in our print and podcast platforms, which can help to promote health education and awareness in the community.

4. Please share how and why Pittsburgh's Heinz History Center recognized Soul Pitt last year.

DaNia Childress, Associate Curator for African American History at the Smithsonian-affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center, reached out to me to record an oral history interview of my entrepreneurial journey. That journey to Soul Pitt began when I moved from Johnstown to Pittsburgh for college.

Fifty issues of Soul Pitt later, on September 7, 2022, we delivered one copy of each to DaNia Childress. The public can access those copies of Soul Pitt in the African American collection of The Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania's preeminent source for researching the region's rich history. Soul Pitt will continue to add to this collection as new issues are published. God blessed me with LEGACY, and I am so thankful that the Heinz History Center realizes the historical value of our publication.

5. Would a Soul Pitt Magazine supplement be a good fit for smaller Pennsylvania markets? 

Yes, a Soul Pitt Quarterly would be a good fit for smaller Pennsylvania markets, especially Central Pennsylvania. However, to make this happen, the distribution must be increased, which means potential advertisers in that area of Pennsylvania. Having a media voice for the underrepresented in two parts of the state brings Blacks together around shared concerns.

6. Where do you see Soul Pitt Media in the future? Will the company contribute to revitalizing your hometown, Johnstown, Pennsylvania?

I see Soul Pitt Media as a leading media platform for the Black community in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Our immediate goal is to continue to grow and expand our reach across the state through storytelling and multimedia content. Growth and revitalization include my hometown, Johnstown. Our focus is positive representation and education that promotes community pride. 

To learn more, visit thesoulpitt.com.

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