This past week, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) celebrated its 75th Anniversary in Detroit, Mich. Recognized as one of the much-anticipated traditions at the NNPA Annual Convention is the Merit Awards ceremony – an evening awards event which honors the year-long work of more than 200 African American newspapers and NNPA member publications from across the country.

The NNPA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Association, and MillerCoors, which sponsors the awards, announced the winners at the conference. The competition acknowledges outstanding journalism in categories such as Breaking News, Commentary, Feature and other important categories. This year OurWeekly Los Angeles newspaper graciously accepted the 1st Place Award for Best Layout and Design for Tabloid.

Also, as part of the weekend’s events were elections to the Association.

Denise Rolark-Barnes, publisher of the Washington Informer, was elected chair of the NNPA.

Rolark-Barnes, succeeds Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., publisher of the Arizona Informant, who served two, two-year terms. After graduating from Howard University with a degree in communications, Rolark Barnes enrolled in the Howard University School of Law. She served as editor of The Barrister, the law university’s student newspaper, before graduating in1979. She is a second-generation publisher, following in the footsteps of her late father, Dr. Calvin W. Rolark.

“I am honored and proud to represent the NNPA as chairman of this historic and impactful organization,” Rolark Barnes said. “Since 1827, the Black Press has listened to and spoken for the African American community. The future looks bright for the team of publishers elected during our 75th anniversary convention in Detroit, Michigan; three of the new officers happen to be second-generation newspaper publishers. We are committed to fulfill the promises we made to our nearly 200 fellow publishers and we will work hard to propel the Black Press into dynamic 21st century media companies.”

Also elected were:

First Vice Chair: Karen Carter Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times

Second Chair: Francis Page, Jr., publisher of Houston Style

Treasurer: Janis Ware, publisher, Atlanta Voice

Secretary: Shannon Williams, publisher, Indianapolis Recorder

Another highlight of the convention took place at the NNPA President’s Reception, where a new book was unveiled called “Getting the Word Out,” which highlights current and former Black women publishers, which included OurWeekly CEO and Publisher Natalie Cole, and numerous other noteworthy women.