D. Kevin McNeir has spent 25 years working in the Black Press of America, and The Washington Informer editor hasn’t regretted one moment.
“I’ve been with the Black Press for 25 years. I believe we have a story that is unique and significant, and it has not gotten old,” McNeir said at the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual conference during a panel discussion on the Black Press’s future. “We give the Black story, that’s who we are.”
An award-winning journalist McNeir once engineered a transformation of The Miami Times, resulting in the NNPA’s Publication of the Year award in 2011 — just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career.
As editor of The Washington Informer, he has displayed keen insight for identifying, researching, and completing front-page, quality news, mainly as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena.
During the discussion, McNeir explained why President Donald Trump and other white Americans usually don’t appear on The Informer’s front page.
“I learned about the Black Press from Detroit and Sam Logan of the Michigan Chronicle. When I got to Miami, the Reeves family told me the same thing,” McNeir said during the discussion that included Mississippi Link Publisher Jackie Hampton, AFRO Publisher Frances Draper, Cincinnati Herald Publisher Jan Michele Kearney, and “Make it Plain” host Mark Thompson.
“I’m just an advocate, but I’m not going to participate in perpetuating the message that Black folks are less than inadequate and that we don’t come to the table prepared. No, I don’t put white folks on the front page,” McNeir declared.
“There are too many Black stories that have not been told, and they are powerful stories, positive stories,” he said. “Once I get all those told, then I’ll put white folks on the front page. Right now, I’ve got so many stories I’ve got to tell. There’ll be on all the other publications as if they are the gatekeepers when, in fact, we are the gatekeepers.
“[Informer Publisher] Denise Rolark Barnes has let me do my thing, and my staff has been supportive of it. I’m unapologetically Black, and I’m going to stay there. I’m in my lane, that’s where I’m most comfortable. I’m going to be responsible for giving quality stories to people who deserve to know that we are the messengers.”
Hampton agreed with McNeir, stating that the only time she’s featured a white person on the cover of her Mississippi Link newspaper was when Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd.
“I agree with Kevin McNeir 100 percent,” Hampton declared. “We have to tell the entire story, and it’s not about the negative things we do, it’s about the negative things they do to us. We are telling our stories, and we continue to tell our positive stories with things that are going on.”