|Controversial educator Michelle Rhee (L) attended the conference with husband Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (Center)|
The Skanner News has taken first place in the Best Editorial category at the National Newspaper Publisher Association Awards, for "Don't Play Politics With Our Lives." The editorial urged action to change the system of police discipline. Read the 2013 winning editorial here.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association represents about 200 African American newspapers. The NNPA held its annual convention June 26-29 in Nashville, Tenn. The event celebrated 187 years of the Black Press, and recognized the best work of 2012 and brought together publishers, industry leaders and academics. The Black press has a circulation of 19.5 million readers.
The NNPA presented the traditional Merit awards for excellence in publishing.
The St. Louis American won the top award for general excellence for the second consecutive year. The NNPA also presented excellence awards for two smaller categories. The Houston Defender won for the best mid-sized paper. And The Miami Times won for the best paper with a smaller circulation.
"There were many exceptional entries this year," said Karl B. Rodney, Merit Awards Chairman and publisher of the Carib News. "We congratulate not only the winners, but other papers that exemplify excellence every week."
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Speakers led discussions on everything from education, Hip-hop and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to AIDs prevention, financial forecasting and the future of digital publishing. And participants shared their perspectives on the challenges facing African American communities.
Among more than two dozen panelists were: rapper Kangol Kid, music producer Ralph McDaniels, Jineea Butler, founder of the Hip Hop Union; Osei Mevs, associate VP at Meharry Medical College; Glenda Baskin Glover, president of Tennessee State University; Cheryl Pearson McNeil, senior VP with Nielsen; and Julie Griffith, founder of J Griffith Public Relations.
Sheryl Lee Ralph, one of the original Dreamgirls, spoke about her work in HIV and AIDS prevention and education. The Tony Award-winner founded the Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed Foundation, to raise money in memory of friends she lost to AIDS. The foundation holds an annual luncheon where everyone wears gloves, a way to drive home the message: "No glove: No love."
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was one of the keynote speakers. Johnson, who attended with his wife the controversial educator Michelle Rhee, spoke about his work with the National Conference of Black Mayors, where he chairs the education reform task force.
A new slate of officers was elected to the NNPA national board and to the NNPA Foundation. Cloves Campbell, Jr., publisher of the Arizona Informant, was re-elected to a second term as NNPA chairman.
"I am honored that my colleagues have chosen to give me another term as chairman," Campbell said. "It was a strong vote of confidence for our leadership team."
The other NNPA officers elected are: First Vice Chair: Mollie Finch Belt, Dallas Examiner; Second Vice President: John B. Smith, Sr., Atlanta Inquirer; Secretary: Natalie Cole, Our Weekly; and Treasurer: Lenora Alexander, Denver Weekly News.
Officers elected to the NNPA Foundation are: Thomas H. Watkins, Jr., New York Daily Challenge; Jackie Hampton, Mississippi Link; Mary Denson, Windy City Word; Beverly Stanton McKenna, New Orleans Tribune; and Pluria Marshall, Wave Community Newspapers.