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Deirdre M. Childress

By: Monica Peters
Originally posted 7/25/2011

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (July 18) – Now, more than ever, a strong partnership is needed between The National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Association of Black Journalists – this strategic alliance will help to ensure our independence as we pursue our common goals.

The publications of the Black Press of America, a 69-year-old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers from across the United States, are the vanguard for coverage of our communities. Its members establish our message.

As the NABJ Vice President-Print and past National Secretary, I am very aware, from conversations with my friends across this country, of how the owners of our newspapers are suffering through this tough economy. However, I also am encouraged by innovative efforts discussed with my friends, Irv Randolph of The Philadelphia Tribune, Curtis Simmons of The New York Amsterdam News, Rhonda Gillespie of The Chicago Defender and Nisa Muhammad of The Final Call, a leader of the NABJ Black Press Task Force and another supporter of our cause.

Today, I am announcing my commitment to NNPA and its common goals shared with NABJ. We know that race still matters, disparities exist in our communities and in mainstream newsrooms, and that the only voice of our people is often the free press. We juggle all of this and still keep an eye on the bottom line at our news services.

I am asking for your support as I seek to become the next President of the National Association of Black Journalists. I am an independent voice trained in advocacy by NABJ founders like Acel Moore and Sandra Long whom many of you know as friends and colleagues in the struggle. The partnership I want to build already has a great foundation because of your newly elected chairman, Cloves Campbell, a long-time friend of mine. He is supporting me in my effort to become the next president because he knows how well I understand the needs of the black press.

“It is imperative that as the number of media outlets continues to decline that we have a forum for our concerns,” Campbell said. “Deirdre is a person who already has knowledge of what NNPA and the black press can do and the resources we can bring. My hope is her election will make that a reality.”

My platform is about sustaining NABJ as an independent voice and supporting the careers of EVERY member. I have ideas to level the playing field and push our members closer to better careers and solid ownership.

My vision is:
• Strengthening the digital brands of our organizations and members
• Growing NABJ as an industry leader
• Increasing the level of respect for our members and their work
• Inspiring effective change
I am very aware of the efforts of past NNPA President John ”Jake” Oliver, publisher of the Washington/Baltimore Afro American chain, and his efforts to push digital goals for NNPA. It is in this spirit that I reach out to you today.
Mr. Campbell and Mr. Randolph will serve on panels during the National Association of Black Journalists 36th Convention and Career Fair scheduled in Philadelphia, Aug 3-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I urge you all to come to Philadelphia if it is at all possible and to stand up for our autonomy and for the goals that we share.

The history of the black press, and the cooperative association of publishers that became NNPA, is our history, and our legacy as black journalists.

I ask that those of you with memberships in NABJ let folks know you value our independence as an organization. Do it at the NABJ voting site, check Childress on the NABJ ballot today at https://eballot4.votenet.com/nabj/login.cfm

Yours in service to our great industry -
Deirdre M. Childress
Dchildress1@comcast.net
Entertainment Editor/The Philadelphia Inquirer

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