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Final Call wins major Black Press Awards

By The Final Call | Last updated: Jul 3, 2019 - 3:52:34 PM

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(L-R) Richard B. Muhammad, Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call Newspaper, Charlene Muhammad, Final Call National Corespondent, , Ben Chavis and Karen Carter Richards »

CINCINNATI—The Final Call newspaper was once again honored for its work by the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association during its 2019 convention. Brenda Andrews, publisher of the New Journal and Guide newspaper in Norfolk, Va., won the coveted Publisher of the Year Award.

The Final Call won a first place award for Best News Story in the Merit Awards Contest and second place for General Excellence among Black newspapers during the June 25 program. National Correspondent Charlene Muhammad wrote the award-winning story, published last year and headlined “The painful problem of Black girls and suicide: What to look for, who to call and why our children are taking their own lives.”

“We thank Almighty God Allah and his Christ and our publisher and founder, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, for our success and the honor of working in this mission. We accept this award as encouragement as we strive to inform, warn, defend and uplift our community and the struggles of oppressed peoples,” said Final Call Editor in Chief Richard B. Muhammad, who accepted the awards.

“We thank Charlene Muhammad for her tremendous work on this important story and our entire staff for diligent efforts to provide vital information to our readers and the world. This is the first time we have won these particular awards,” he added.

Ms. Andrews, who hosted last year’s convention, was greeted with a standing ovation as she ascended the platform to accept the award from NNPA Foundation Chair Amelia Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter.

The Miami Times (10 awards), Philadelphia Tribune (9), and St. Louis American (7) were the biggest winners of the night.

Included in the Miami Times’ awards was the John B. Russwurm Trophy that’s presented to the newspaper that accumulates the most points in NNPA Foundation’s annual journalism competition.

In 1827, Russwurm co-founded Freedom’s Journal with Samuel E. Cornish, the country’s first African American-owned and operated newspaper with the credo: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris opened the program via a video message of support and encouragement. “Thank you for the work that you do … a free and independent Black Press is critical,” Sen. Harris said.

The 2020 presidential hopeful who received the 2018 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year Award during a ceremony last year, couldn’t attend the event because she was in Florida participating in the second night of debates for Democratic candidates.

During the ceremony, Ford and General Motors formally announced scholarship awards while Kerri Watkins, the publisher of the New York Daily Challenge, handed out the George Curry Award in honor of the late Black Press editor.

“We are all winners tonight,” Ashley-Ward said. “When one of us wins, we all win.”

Karen Carter Richards, the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, was elected to serve as the chair of the National Newspapers Publishers Association, which represents Black-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the country.

Ms. Richards, who in 2018 won the NNPA’s Publisher of the Year Award, succeeds Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers.

“We did it!” Ms. Richards exclaimed during an NNPA Legacy Awards presentation June 28 at the Cincinnati Westin Hotel.

The organization also selected a new first- and second- vice chair, secretary, treasurer and at-large board members.

The NNPA, which is celebrating its 79th year and 192 years of the Black Press in America, held its annual convention in the Queen City with Cincinnati Herald and Dayton Defender Publisher Jan Michele Kearney and Walter L. White, Vice President of Sesh Communications hosting the weeklong event.

“I just want to thank my family for all of their support,” said Richards, a second-generation publisher who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in journalism.

Her father, Julius P. Carter, founded the Houston Forward Times in 1960 after recognizing a need for a newspaper that was committed to covering issues and personalities routinely ignored by mainstream media.

After Julius Carter’s death, the legendary Lenora “Doll” Carter assumed responsibility for the Forward Times with Karen Carter Richards working alongside her.

Ms. Richards said she understands that being the chair comes with a lot of responsibilities and work.

After a fierce campaign, Ms. Richards said she will work to move the storied association forward, help to continue to provide Black America with critical news and information, and bridge any divides that might exist between members.

“I will win your trust,” Richards said. “This is a new vision and I’m excited about serving. We are the Black Press, the Original Black Press and I’m so happy to serve and be the new chair of the NNPA.”

The Houston native said the importance of the Black Press should never be lost on anyone.

“We are the voice, the true voice of our people. We have recorded our history for 192 years like no other media could ever do,” she said. “We have recorded many stories … our celebrations, our injustices and those hidden, treasured stories that came from our communities that we have always found value in. Let’s do this.”

(Written by NNPA correspondent Stacey Brown and Final Call staff.)