If you ask Brenda Andrews why the Black Press still matters after 194 years, the New Journal and Guide publisher will always provide an easy and definitive response.
“Even with diverse news stories from various media platforms, the Black Press continues its original role as an advocate for the Black community,” stated Andrews, who also serves as national treasurer of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).
The NNPA is the trade association representing the Black Press of America.
After 194 years, the Black Press continues to record racial history and give meaning and value to what is news, and how it is created and distributed as information and commentary from the Black perspective, Andrews announced.
It is for that reason, Andrews said she is looking forward to the NNPA’s annual summer convention when visitors, sponsors, cooperate partners, and others will see firsthand why the Black Press still matters.
“The Black Press is a watchdog over how the stories about Black America are told, and it is an incubator for news that makes history and impacts our country and our democracy,” Andrews asserted.
The owners of the more than 230 newspapers and media companies in the Black Press family diligently determine what is newsworthy for the Black communities they serve, Andrews continued.
“They decide what stories must be told and exactly how these stories are to be told as events that impact Black America.”
Andrews argued that “it is an important and crucial role to decide how the current events of the day are to be remembered as history. It is not just important to have these stories and information recorded about the Black community. It is important who is telling the stories and how authentically those stories mirror the various nuances of Black Life in America.”
With degrees in English and psychology from California State University, Sacramento, Andrews worked as a school teacher from 1973 to 1977 before joining the U.S. Army.
She edited a military community paper in Germany and worked as the Army’s Newswire Service at the Pentagon.
After working as the assistant to the publisher at the Journal and Guide for four years, Andrews became the publisher in 1991 and changed the paper’s name to the New Journal and Guide.
She has led the more than 121-year-old newspaper to new heights, earning countless awards and recognition.
While Andrews briefly halted publishing during the pandemic, she said the newspaper “never abandoned its purpose for being, even in the face of economic challenges.”
“The New Journal and Guide have been a member of the Black Press since 1900, just 73 years after the founding of the Black Press in 1827,” Andrews stated.
“Our future is based on how successfully we navigate the changing ways people today view, receive, and value news, especially with the emergence of fast, cheap, and easily accessible digital platforms that distribute and exhibit news.”
She offered that the digital media revolution has, in some respects, have threatened accurate reporting where social media and citizen journalists are not held accountable to the truth and standards that old school media required.
“As we move increasingly to a world of digital media communications, there is a special consideration for the Black Press to be made for the value of our enduring print publications,” Andrews pronounced.
“We have seen during the coronavirus pandemic that has necessitated the use of virtual communications for teaching, working, and shopping, it has been the Black community – rural and urban – that was most ill-prepared digitally to respond successfully. Inadequate internet broadband access in underserved urban and rural communities hamper these areas, largely Black and Brown, from participating in the digital world as successfully as better served areas.”
Despite those challenges, Andrews reiterated that the Black Press “remains the trusted voice for accurate news and information.”
The NNPA’s annual convention begins Wednesday, June 23, and runs through Saturday, June 26.
The convention’s theme is “Black Press Matters: Trusted Voice, Resilient Vitality, Transformative Vision.”
Legendary singer Chaka Khan headlines this year’s convention. She will perform a mini-concert for all in attendance.