WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will welcome Black-owned newspaper publishers from across the nation to the 2017 Mid-Winter Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The theme of the conference is “Strengthening Black-Owned Newspapers: Training, Innovation and Technology.” NNPA member publishers, civil rights leaders and their corporate partners will participate in panel discussions about new technology in the media industry, public policy and generating revenue through digital investments.
“This is a propitious moment in history and the Black Press of America is needed today more than ever, given the current challenges and opportunities that are before Black America,” said Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). “While we are celebrating and recognizing the 190th anniversary of the Black Press in the United States throughout 2017, it is incumbent that NNPA continues to take the lead in championing the issues of freedom, justice, equality and economic empowerment.”
Denise Rolark Barnes, the chairwoman of the NNPA said that the annual gathering of African American newspaper executives is extremely timely and necessary.
“[The NNPA Mid-Winter Conference] falls on the heels of the recent inauguration of President Donald Trump and the resounding call by women who marched in the U.S. and around the world demanding dignity and human rights for all,” said Rolark Barnes. “It also comes at a time when the ‘Freedom of the Press,’ a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, has also come under attack, which impacts all media including the Black Press.”
Rolark Barnes noted that that the NNPA publishers gather with a 190-year legacy of the Black Press undergirding their determination to remain viable and profitable for years to come.
The NNPA also invited 150 students from area schools to participate in a NNPA Student Education Program featuring a presentation on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Reverend William J. Barber II, the president of the state conference of the NAACP in North Carolina delivered the keynote address on Wednesday, January 25.
“We anticipate a strong message from Reverend William J. Barber, II, who will offer a spiritual and social justice blueprint upon which the publishers can refer as they report on local and national stories,” said Rolark Barnes. “And, with a laser focus on education, we plan to have a comprehensive discussion on the ways that the Black Press can raise public awareness about the ESSA, the new law aimed at providing every child equal access to a quality education regardless of race, income, background, or the zip code where they live.”
This year, the NNPA will honor iconic publisher Robert W. Bogle, the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Tribune, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rolark Barnes called Bogle a leader in his community and a forthright advisor to many who seek his counsel.
“We rededicate our businesses and our energies to the essential mission of speaking and publishing truth to power,” said Chavis. “We especially thank our partners: General Motors, Chevrolet, Ford Motor Company, Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We’d also like to thank our sponsors: Volkswagen, Ascension, Coca-Cola, and the American Association for Cancer Research.”