The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is hosting the annual Black Press Week, where publishers from across the country are gathering to celebrate the importance of Black-owned newspapers and media outlets in the United States.
After a series of events observing Black Press Week, NNPA President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. delivered the State of the Black Press Address at the National Press Club.
Chavis spoke about the current state of Black-owned newspapers and media outlets, and the challenges and opportunities facing the Black Press in 2023.
Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and other prominent figures were in attendance. Thompson received the Newsmaker of the Year Award.
The Black Press enjoys a legendary history in America.
For 196 years, Black-owned newspapers and media outlets have provided a voice for Black communities that are often ignored by mainstream media.
Publications like the Chicago Defender, AFRO, The New Pittsburgh Courier, Philadelphia Tribune and Amsterdam News have covered stories that are relevant to Black Americans, from civil rights and social justice issues to entertainment and sports news.
It was Jet magazine that first published pictures of the body of Emmett Till, which led to the civil rights movement.
It was the New Journal & Guide in Norfolk, Virginia, that introduced the world to the women who would later come to fame in the movie “Hidden Figures.”
Despite the challenges facing the media industry in recent years, the Black Press has remained a vital source of information and a powerful voice for the Black community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Black-owned newspapers and media outlets played a critical role in disseminating information about the virus and its impact on Black communities.
The Black Press was the first to declare the virus airborne.
Today, the rise of digital media has disrupted the traditional business model of newspapers and media outlets, and Black-owned publications are not immune to these changes.
Additionally, the Black Press faces increased competition from mainstream media outlets that are now covering stories that were once exclusive to Black-owned publications.
Despite these challenges, the Black Press remains as important as ever.
Black-owned newspapers and media outlets continue to provide a unique perspective on issues that affect the Black community, and they remain a vital source of information for millions of Black Americans.
To highlight the importance of the Black Press, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will host dozens of Black Press publishers at the White House following the State of the Black Press Address.
This event underscores the critical role that the Black Press plays in American society.
In an earlier interview with the NNPA’s daily morning show “Let It Be Known,” Jean-Pierre said, “The Black Press has been an essential voice in our democracy for over a century. It has played a crucial role in informing and empowering Black communities across the country.”
While Black Press Week creates an opportunity to celebrate the resilience and importance of Black-owned newspapers and media outlets, it also presents a chance to reflect on the challenges facing the Black Press in 2023 while exploring ways to ensure that these publications continue to thrive and serve their communities.
“The Black Press is not only a voice for Black America, it is a voice for all Americans who care about justice and equality,” Chavis stated. “We must continue to support the Black Press and ensure that it remains a vibrant and vital part of our media landscape.”