Focus News

The Focus News was Kalamazoo’s longest continuously produced newspaper reporting on news of interest to the African-American community.  The digitized issues on this site begin with Volume 3, Number 9 (April, 1968) and end with Volume 18, Number 3 (November 15, 1982).  The newspapers used in this project came from existing holdings of the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections and represent the most complete known run of this publication. It is microfilmed and hosted at Central Michigan University.    

   Focus News Digital Collection

Focus News began as a free publication for residents Kalamazoo’s Northside and Eastside neighborhoods in June, 1965.  It was always available on a subscription basis for readers outside the target area.  It became a subscription supported publication in 1967.  The earliest issues were called Focus. The name was later changed to Focus News. It was published monthly from April, 1968 to June 1, 1973.  During its heyday it was published twice a month from June, 1973 to February, 1981.  In the last eighteen months of publication, it became a monthly beginning in March, 1981 until the last known issue dated November 15, 1982.  The first newspaper from June 10, 1965 was reprinted in the June, 1969 edition   

Barbara Lakso Mion (1929-2005) served as editor and publisher of the newspaper. Mion graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1947 and Western Michigan University in 1954 with a B.A. degree in English.  She wrote for several regional publications and became an activist in the Civil Rights movement. Her papers associated with the publication of Focus News were donated to the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections by her family. 

Hardcopy and microfilm copies of the Focus News are held in the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center.  For more information call (269) 387-8490 or visit the website at

For information on searching, saving, and printing see Using Focus News page.