“In 2019, the state of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is strong and expanding as we continue to innovate and adjust to changing market realities and opportunities. The Black Press of America is viable, relevant, energetic and committed to excellence in journalism and service to our communities that depend and rely on our news products, advocacy and voice,” says Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO,
National Newspaper Publishers Association. Print media is under attack by the digital and social media, and newspapers are being replaced by the internet and the many different platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The major challenge for the Black Press is to bridge the gap with the younger Black Hip-hop generation, and the seasoned and older Black generation. Dorothy R. Leavell current Publisher of The Crusader News Group, and Chairman of the NNPA Board of Directors said, “Because of these times and new technology, we are gathered here in Orlando to discuss, dissect, and learn how we can continue our mission and the looming globalization of the Black Press. We pause here to thank our host publishers, members of NNPA, Board of Directors, staff sponsors, advertisers, and friends for their support as we begin another pivotal point in our existence.”
2018 was a successful year for the NNPA in terms of growth, by increasing the numbers of membership from 205 publishers, to 219, and increasing advertising sales from $5,606,083 in 2017 – to $6,794,105 in 2018. The NNPA advertising sales increased by $1,188,022, which is 21%, and NNPA Partners/Sponsors increased by 32% from 2017 $1,775,343, to $2,347,953 in 2018.
Under the tutelage and leadership of Dr. Chavis, the sales and advertising team is planning to have a better year financially in 2019, and strategically the Black Press is expecting to expand globally. For over three quarter of a century, the NNPA publishers have provided excellent reporting from a Black perspective, as they are celebrating 192 years of the Black Press in America.
The Black Press is resilient and powerful. The theme of the mid-winter conference in Orlando was, “Publishing Industry: Training, Innovation & The Global Expansion of the Black Press of America.
On the front page of the Freedom’s Journal on March 16, 1827 in New York City Conference was a qualified success with receptions, workshops, health, political, business, digital monetizing training sessions, global expansion, great food, and a fun award gala with a little partying. There were many presentations and speakers, from The Honorable Andrew Gillum, the former Mayor of Tallahassee, The Honorable Attorney Benjamin L Crump, renowned civil rights lawyer, and H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, the African Union Ambassador to the United States.
“Slavery was legal, but that did not make it right. Segregation was legal, but that did not make it right. We see them kill our children, our brothers, our sisters, and we see it on video with our own eyes, and they have all these legal terms like grand jury proceedings, and they tell us there was no violation of policy, and we ask what video was they looking at,” says Attorney Benjamin Crump.
There was a wealth of networking and knowledge shared for four days, the time was especially invigorated with the global perspective with the presentation of Ambassador Arikana Chihomboori-Quao. “In order for Africa to become a heavy weight it must speak with one voice, one heart, one mind, and one Africa,” says the Ambassador.
The highlight of the conference was the Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 to Rosetta Miller-Perry, the Tennessee Tribune publisher and civil rights activist. At eighty-five years young she is still working and engaged. The dinner with jumbo shrimp was excellent. The entertainment and music was provided by the electrifying Howard Hewitt, where all had a special good time, especially the females.
With the tremendous success of the conference, the NNPA must work to solve the big elephant in the room, and that is, “How do the papers and publishers generate more income with a declining print model. According to the Pew Research Center, print advertising still pays the bills, but print ad revenues have fallen from $44.3 billion in 2003, to just $16.4 billion in 2014.
The NNPA will continue to be a voice in America, where there is no justice, racism, voter suppression, and no truth. As an Orlando resident and NNPA contributor, it was an honor to meet the publishers and speak with Dr. Benjamin Chavis, NNPA President/CEO, Board Chairman Dorothy Leavell, and the NNPA Headquarters Staff. With a renewed spirit after the conference, the NNPA is relevant, and making a difference in America and the Black community for 75 years. “Thank you and Great Job”