|Black publishers who took home NNPA Messenger Awards last week, from left: Kenya Vaughn of the St. Louis American; Bernie Foster, The Skanner News; Larry Waters, MillerCoors; Elinor Tatum, New York Amsterdam News; Michael House, Chicago Defender. -- To see more photos click here
The Skanner News swept the A. Phillip Randolf Messenger Awards competition at the National Newspaper Publishers Association Awards held in New York City last Saturday night.
The paper also placed second in the nation for General Excellence.
The awards ceremony was the culmination of a convention that featured speeches by Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Bernice A. King, and National Urban League CEO Mark Morial.
Celebrating its 70th annual convention, the NNPA is the largest professional organization of African American publishers in the nation, with some 250 member newspapers in the United States and the Caribbean.
In the prestigious MillerCoors A. Phillip Randolf Messenger Awards -- named for the civil rights leader and publisher whose newspaper, The Messenger, chronicled the Black condition in America -- The Skanner News was the only newspaper in the country to win a prize in each one of its five categories.
Reporter Brian Stimson won an armload of awards, including the Messenger Award for Cultural Diversity, with his story "Census Should Count Prisoners as Residents of Their Home Counties" (read the story here). He was a finalist in three categories: Aid/Emergency Relief, for "Felons Suffer High Rates of Homelessness" (read it here); Environment, for "Attorney General Gets Out of the Office" (read it here); and Responsibility, for "Lack of Access Hinders Treatment for Addiction" (here)
News Editor Lisa Loving won the Messenger Award in the Heritage category, for a profile of graphic designer Rupert Kinnard (read the story here).
The other three winners were Nayabe Arinde of the New York Amsterdam News; Victoria Lewis of the Houston Defender; and Wendell Hutson of the Chicago Defender. Each Messenger Award carries a prize of $5,000.
The Skanner News staff also won the NNPA Merit Award for Best Use of Photos, and Stimson won the Ida B. Wells Best News Story prize for "Progress Murky on Race, Juvenile Justice" (read it here).
The awards were judged by a panel of 12 journalism and media professors from Howard University.
Danny Bakewell Sr., publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, was named Samuel E. Cornish Publisher of the Year. Rep. Charles Rangel and Motown Records founder Barry Gordy were honorees of the organization during its dinner gala.
Publisher Bernie Foster said it is the first time The Skanner News has ever placed as a finalist for the John B. Russwurm Award for General Excellence. The Skanner won more awards than any publication west of the Mississippi.
"We are very fortunate to have the writers that we have," Foster said. "We try to constantly challenge people to shape a better future, and these awards exemplify the work that we've done for the past 35 years."