BALTIMORE, AUG. 3 -- NAACP Executive Director Benjamin L. Hooks today announced a three-pronged initiative to strengthen the country's black news organizations, many of which he said are "locked in a struggle for survival."

Hooks said he is asking the nation's 500 biggest corporations to increase their advertising budgets for black media, directing the NAACP's 2,100 branches to give more support to black-owned newspapers and broadcast stations, and assigning an NAACP staff member to assist black media owners.

Dubbing the effort "Project Freedom's Journal," Hooks told a news conference, "We are resolved here . . . to turn the situation around, increasing the strength and viability of the black press."

According to industry estimates, there are more than 200 black-owned newspapers in the United States, along with about 180

radio stations and 20 television stations.

Many papers have suffered financially in recent years, with their circulation and advertising shrinking.

Frances Murphy Draper, president of the Washington Afro-American and its sister papers in Baltimore and Richmond, said today, however, some papers, including hers, are rebounding. They have benefited in part from increased black politicization and "black pride" during what many have perceived as the anti-black civil rights retrenchment during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Draper said circulation of the weekly Baltimore Afro-American, the largest of the three-paper chain, jumped from about 8,000 to 15,000 in the last four years. "We are on the road to recovery," she said.

Hooks said there is need in the country for a separate black press, one "steeped and rooted in . . . understanding the nuances and the problems of the black community."

At the same time, he said, there is nothing inconsistent in urging black reporters and editors to seek posts in predominantly white news organizations. "It's not an either-or {situation}," he said. "There's no inconsistency in having a strong black press and also having a white press, a majority press, that deals with problems of the black community."