Never in Dr. Calvin W. Rolark’s wildest dreams did he imagine when he first published The Washington Informer on October 16, 1964, that his little “weak-ly newspaper,” as he often described it, would survive but thrive 58 years later.

Of course, there were tough times and moments when he considered putting the weekly publication to bed for good, but issues of the day inspired and motivated him to continue publishing. He believed there needed to be a vehicle to document change as it was happening, to amplify the voices, including his, that belonged to the changemakers, to inspire and motivate the broader community to participate in the positive movements for change and to inform and educate those struggling to understand why a change was necessary and how, in the end, everyone would benefit.

When Dr. Rolark died in 1994, he left as his lasting legacy The Washington Informer. More importantly, his example of deep-seated dedication to a community and the people he loved has carried the Informer forward over the past 28 years. His hard work and consistent impact on the community through publishing and philanthropy permeates the souls of those who make up the staff of The Washington Informer today.

It is not to say that there are not still challenging times, but we’ve come too far to quit now.

As publisher, I can’t be prouder of our team. We are a cohesive yet diverse group of individuals – in age, gender, race, faith, and politics – but all passionate about delivering credible and truthful news and information to our print and digital audiences across our platforms. Today, we continue to produce the weekly print edition of The Washington Informer, a digital edition, and our website. We deliver a weekly digital broadcast called WIN-TV and post content regularly on all of our social media platforms.

Who said millennials don’t read newspapers? While there may be some truth, the WI Bridge DC, our monthly millennial-focused publication, will celebrate its 7th anniversary in 2023. As a print and online publication led by Lafayette Barnes, IV, its readership has grown, and the team will unveil several new initiatives this spring. The best is yet to come.

Many companies, including the media, have experienced staff reductions and personnel changes. One of the most difficult responsibilities of leadership is having to let people go. On the other hand, what joy it is to find the right match for the important jobs that need to be filled. The stars aligned when we welcomed Micha Green as the new managing editor of The Washington Informer. Her presence, accompanied by creative ideas, strong journalism, and solid digital skills, are signs of the rebirth of this nearly 60-year-old media company. Yes, the best is yet to come.

The staff couldn’t be more optimistic about 2023. We will cover more stories, introduce video to our story-telling, expand our WIN-TV podcast, host, and co-host more events, and explore mutually beneficial partnerships. In essence, we want to boost engagement opportunities with you – our readers, viewers, and listeners – in hopes of learning more about the issues that are important to you.

This year, thanks to a partnership with Report for America, we hired a dedicated environmental justice reporter and a health equity reporter, whose stories in 2023, we hope, will garner greater attention to environmental and health inequities impacting local Black residents. We want to initiate positive change. We also look forward to continuing publishing ‘Our House,’ a monthly newsletter that seeks to decrease property loss and increase Black homeownership throughout the DMV.

Dr. Rolark made it through the tough times. His example continues to inspire us. We are determined to be “fearless storytellers” and carriers of the “good news” for and about the Black community. We are counting on your support, as well, by reading, subscribing, advertising, donating, or simply sharing The Washington Informer in 2023.

Happy New Year!

Denise Rolark Barnes

Denise Rolark Barnes is the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer, succeeding her father, the late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, who founded the newspaper in 1964. The Washington...

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