Saturday, June 08, 2024


Please Consider Donating 10 to help Black Students Attend & Finish College. Donate Here:

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will host its annual national convention from June 19 to 22 at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. The NNPA is the trade association of the more than 250 African American-owned newspapers and media companies that comprise the Black Press of America.

This year’s event, themed “Empowering Black Press, Communities, Families, and Voter Turnout,” marks the Black Press’s 197th anniversary, just three years shy of its bicentennial.

The Black Press was founded in 1827, before slavery ended in America, with the publication of Freedom’s Journal in New York, published by John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish. The conglomerate has long championed the cause of African Americans and have been counted on for decades to rally the Black community around specific political candidates. “We wish to plead our own cause, for too long others have spoken for us,” declared Russwurm and Cornish in their inaugural issue.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have received formal invitations to attend the convention, and their participation is highly anticipated by the over 250 Black-owned newspaper and media company owners and their team of editors and journalists who are expected in Baltimore. With the 2024 election looming, Biden’s engagement with the Black Press is critical to his bid for re-election, underscoring the importance of the Black vote.

Reflecting on a pivotal moment from the 1992 NNPA convention in Baltimore, Bob Bogle of the Philadelphia Tribune and Sonny Messiah Jiles of the Houston Defender recalled the fallout when Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton backed out of his scheduled appearance. Black publishers were furious with Clinton’s decision. Bogle, at the time, called it “an affront to the Black Press, and it’s an affront to African Americans everywhere.”

Clinton later realized the gravity of his mistake and made amends by addressing the Black Press collectively. This historical context adds weight to the expectations placed on Biden, as Bogle and Jiles have expressed a similar resolve this year.

NNPA Chair Bobby Henry emphasized the significance of this year’s theme: “Our theme, ‘Empowering the Black Press, Communities, Families, and Voter Turnout,’ is of paramount importance. This conference is a critical platform for addressing the unique challenges and opportunities for political parties to share their messages with the media that serves the population and can make or break elections.”

The convention will feature several high-profile presentations and panels, including a keynote address by Damon Todd Hewitt, President & Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, titled “What is at Stake for African Americans: the 2024 Vote.” Rev. Mark Thompson of NNPA Global will moderate the “Generation Z Voter Issues” panel, featuring current and former HBCU students.

A panel discussion on “From NNPA Intern to Full-Time: How the Chevrolet Discover the Unexpected Program is Fueling the Workforce of the Future,” hosted by General Motors, and a Pfizer-sponsored breakfast on “Using AI Technology to Extend Audience Reach and Ensure Inclusive Voices” are two additional highlights. The Google News Initiative will present “News Consumer Insights” with Chrissey Towle, Google’s Director of News Partnerships.

Rahn Bailey, MD, of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, Elliott T. Boyce, Sr., retired Director of the New York State Police, and Major Neil Franklin, former Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, will be on a panel Reynolds will host to discuss “The Importance of the 2024 Black Vote and Public Policy.” NNPA Partners and sponsors Reynolds, Pfizer Rare Disease, Google News Initiative, General Motors, American Petroleum Institute, Comcast NBC Universal, Nissan, and AARP.

The NNPA Fund’s annual Merit Awards and gala will occur on Thursday, June 20. On Friday, June 21, the NNPA’s annual black-tie gala will include a tribute to Frankie Beverly. Congressman Kweisi Mfume, U.S. Cabinet Secretary Michael Regan, and Maryland Governor Wesley Moore are scheduled to participate. NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. highlighted the critical nature of this year’s convention. “The NNPA welcomes the upcoming opportunity to convene our 2024 annual national convention in the great city of Baltimore,” Chavis declared.

“This marks the 197th anniversary of the Black Press of America. Baltimore is one of the historic cities where the Black Press continues to triumph in transformational ways. Because democracy and freedom are on the ballot this year, we will also issue a national call to action to get out the vote across America.”

As the Black Press nears its bicentennial, the NNPA is celebrating its rich legacy and charting a course for its future impact on civic engagement and social justice. “Strengthening voter turnout, supporting families, and enhancing the financial stability of Black businesses are essential steps toward fostering a more inclusive and equitable society,” Henry added. “This conference underscores the vital role of informing, educating, and mobilizing communities.”

The NNPA has continued to call for increased advertising support from businesses and governmental agencies to ensure fair and equitable spending with Black-owned media, emphasizing the ongoing economic and social contributions of the Black Press to American society.

No comments: