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Black Press meets in Norfolk; Final Call earns awards

By Final Call News | Last updated: Jul 10, 2018 - 11:10:56 AM

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(L) Richard B. Muhammad with other editorial writing winners. (C) Jeffrey Boney of Houston Forward Times with publisher of the year award for Karen Carter Richards. (R) Rev. Jackson receives Legacy Award at Black Press convention.

NORFOLK, Va.—Karen Carter Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times, received the highly-coveted Publisher of the Year Award during the 2018 NNPA Foundation Merit Awards dinner at this year’s annual Black Press convention. Ms. Richards, in Houston recovering from an illness, was represented by associate editor Jeffrey L. Boney. The Miami Times was voted best Black newspaper of the year.

During the June 28 dinner, part of “Celebrating 191 Years of Black Press in America: Sustaining, Engaging & Mobilizing Black Communities,” The Final Call won a Third Place Award for Editorial Writing for a piece calling for combatting and ending sex trafficking and a First Place Feature Writing Award for a major story about the Feminization of Black Men by Bryan Crawford, a Final Call contributing writer.

“We were honored to accept the awards on behalf of our publisher, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, staff, the mighty Fruit of Islam who deliver this truth to our people and all of our readers and supporters. This is encouragement for us to keep going and keep getting better,” said Final Call editor in chief Richard B. Muhammad.

Min. Farrakhan holds award during conversation with Final Call editor Richard B. Muhammad. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

Black publishers and journalists traveled from around the country to attend the June 26-30 meeting. It included workshops, luncheons, industry-related discussions, meetings and a salute to civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

NNPA chairman and Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader publisher Dorothy R. Leavell led a panel discussion on “Black Press vs. Fake News.” Among panelists were Sarah Glover of the National Association of Black Journalists and Julianne Malveaux, an economist and writer.

Ms. Leavell and NNPA President Benjamin Chavis led a National Town Hall Meeting on Educational Excellence. The NNPA Foundation presented 21 scholarships that were funded by sponsors that included Ford, General Motors and Coca-Cola.

Brenda H. Andrews, publisher of the New Journal and Guide and host of this year’s convention, said the Black Press lends an authentic and needed voice to issues and concerns about continuing racial economic, income and health disparities. The Black Press also highlights the need for quality education for children, she said.

Rev. Jackson received the NNPA Lifetime Legacy Award for decades of service as one of the country’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. “The first time I saw an image of Black achievement was in the Black Press,” Jackson said. “Today, the Black Press is more important than ever. This is the season of ‘Fake News,’ but we need the truth now more than ever.”

As the convention drew to a close, Black law enforcement veterans talked about problems in policing with bias, racism and the need for real partnerships. Having law enforcement vets team with the community means the focus can shift to things like tactics and whether officers employed proper tactics from the beginning, said a former police chief. And, said former Los Angeles police Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey, younger Black officers aren’t being mentored and trained in how to deal with the Black community and challenge department racism. Blacks who are promoted are promoted because they support the status quo, she said.

Compiled from NNPA reports and Final Call staff.