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Bernie and Ben Chavis
Lisa Loving and George Curry
Published: 30 June 2014

Newly-elected NNPA Interim president and CEO Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., at left, with The Skanner News Publisher Bernie Foster, at the NNPA Convention 2014. Photos by Mike Norris

The Skanner News on Thursday night took three national awards as part of the national newspaper publishers Association convention in Portland.

Multimedia Editor Helen Silvis Took the top prize for best feature story, winning the Frank L. Stanley award for her story, “Inside Oregon's Coffee Creek Prison Mothers and Children Bond Against the Odds.”

In addition, The Skanner News’ website won second place in the A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award for Digital Excellence competition. The website, www.theskanner.com, was launched late last fall, with many expanded features and responsive design.

The Skanner News has won more NNPA awards in the last 10 years than all the other Black publications in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington combined.

And The Skanner News won third place in Community Service, for an investigative project by News Editor Lisa Loving that evaluated the effectiveness of Cover Oregon navigators. It was the second Community Service honor won by The Skanner in the area of public health; the paper won first place in 2012 for building a Google map of healthy corner grocery stores throughout the Portland metro area.

This year’s NNPA convention marks the first time the national gathering has been held in Portland. The Skanner News and the Portland Observer together hosted the event.

“We had guests from all over the country–and everybody really loved Portland,” said The Skanner News publisher Bernie Foster. “but we really appreciated our local support.

“U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Portland Development Commission CEO Patrick Quinton, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and a squad of volunteers all made our guests feel welcome and we appreciate that."

Also at the convention, Foster announced that newly elected NNPA CEO Ben Chavis will be the keynote speaker at The Skanner News Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in 2015.

Chavis was the leader of the Wilmington Ten, a group of civil rights activists wrongfully incarcerated for allegedly firebombing a grocery store; the court case against them was so controversial it made headlines all over the world. Their convictions were eventually overturned by a federal appeals court but not until they had served 10 years in prison.

In 2012, Chavis and the six surviving members of the group for pardoned by North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The convention kicked off Wednesday night with a gathering to honor Portlanders who have contributed to making Oregon a more equitable and just place. Honored at the event were:

Former state senators: Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly; Oregon Historical Society; The Portland Development Commission, its board and executive director Patrick Quinton; Dr. T Allen Bethel, Dr, LeRoy Haynes and JoAnn Hardesty for their work with the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform; Pastor Mary Overstreet Smith and Dr. Jill Ginsberg of the North by Northeast Community Health Center.

The NNPA merit awards were held Thursday night at the Nines Hotel.

The St. Louis American won the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Russwurm/Senstacke Trophy for general excellence for the third consecutive year, it was announced Thursday night at the NNPA’s annual convention here. It was the Missouri newspaper’s 8th time winning the NNPA ‘s top award in the past 15 years. The award was named in honor of John B. Russwurm, co-founder of Freedom’s Journal, the nation’s first African American newspaper, and late Chicago Defender Publisher John H. Sengstacke, founder of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, now the National Newspaper Publishers Association, in 1940. The winner of the award is determined each year by the paper that accumulates the most points in the 21 categories of the NNPA’s annual Merit Awards.

With the honor goes the title of Best Black Newspaper in the nation. The St. Louis American, published by Dr. Donald M. Suggs, captured six first-place awards for Best Use of Photographs (Broadsheet), Best Special Section, Best Entertainment Section, Best Lifestyle Section Community Service and Digital Excellence. The newspaper came in second in Best Layout and Design (Broadsheet) as well as Best Business Section and third place in the Best Sports Section competition. Rosetta Miller Perry, publisher of the Tennessee Tribune in Nashville, was named Publisher of the Year by her fellow publishers.The Merit Awards are administered by the NNPA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Association.

 “We had more newspapers winning awards this year than at any time in recent memory,” said Mary Denson, chair of the NNPA Foundation and publisher of the Windy City Word in Chicago.

“I think that’s a testament to the dramatic improvement our papers continue to make.”

Cloves C. Campbell, chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Arizona Informant, said,

“As usual, the competition was extremely fierce this year and we congratulate all of the winners. This year’s Merit Awards winners have raised the bar of excellence that all of our papers can strive to meet.”  

 The complete list of Merit Award winners were:

 CLASS I – Robert S. Abbott Best Editorial Award 1) Final Call 2) Black Voices 3) Daily Challenger

CLASS II – Emory O. Jackson Best Column Writing 1)  Final Call  2)  Black Voices 3)Houston Forward Times

CLASS III – Carl Murphy Community Service 1) St. Louis American 2)  Houston Defender 3)  The Skanner News

CLASS IV – Ida B. Wells Best News Story 1) Houston Forward Times 2) Philadelphia Tribune 3) Richmond Free Press

CLASS V – Frank L. Stanley Best Feature Story 1) The Skanner News  2) New Pittsburgh Courier 3) Winston-Salem Chronicle

CLASS VI – BEST NEWS PICTURES 1)LA Watts Times  2)  Richmond Free Press  3) Washington Informer

CLASS VII – Robert L. Vann Best Layout and Design  TABLOID : 1) Washington Informer 2) Final Call 3)  LA Watts Times BROADSHEET:  1) New Pittsburgh Courier  2)  St. Louis American 3) Miami Times

 CLASS VIII – Leon H. Washington Best Special Edition 1) St. Louis American 2) Miami Times 3) Washington Informer

CLASS IX – Ada S. Franklin Best Lifestyles Section 1) St. Louis American 2)  Houston Forward Times 3)Charlotte Post

CLASS X – Best Youth Writer 1) Houston Forward Times 2) Miami Times 3) Final Call

CLASS XI – Best Use of Photographs (Broadsheet) 1)  St. Louis American 2) Carolina Peacemaker 3) New Pittsburgh Courier (Tabloid) 1) Washington Informer 2) Gary Crusader 3) Chicago Crusader

CLASS XII – Best Church Page 1) Philadelphia Tribune 2) Miami Times 3) LA Sentinel

 CLASS XIII – Don King Best Sports Section 1) Pittsburgh Courier 2) Philadelphia Tribune 3) St. Louis American

CLASS XIX – Best Business Section 1) Miami Times 2) St. Louis American 3) Houston Defender

CLASS XX – Best Entertainment Section 1)  St. Louis American 2) Miami Times 3) LA Sentinel

 CLASS XXI – MillerCoors Digital Excellence 1) St. Louis American 2) The Skanner News  3) Crossroads News 

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