Valerie Jarrett "Newsmaker of the Year" (Photo by Ann Ragland/NNPA)
Valerie Jarrett "Newsmaker of the Year" (Photo by Ann Ragland/NNPA)
Valerie Jarrett “Newsmaker of the Year” (Photo by Ann Ragland/NNPA)
Susan Taylor heads mentoring effort. (Photo by Ann Ragland/NNPA)
Maulana Karenga honored for Lifetime Achievement. (Photo by Ann Ragland/NNPA)

by George Curry
NNPA Editor-in-Chief

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been named the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation’s “Newsmaker of the Year.”

Jarrett was presented the award last week during NNPAF’s annual Black Press Week celebration in Washington, D.C.

Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue was given a Torch Award for summoning the courage to issue pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten, activists imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.

Enshrined posthumously into the NNPA Publishers Hall of Fame were Joseph L. Coley, Sr. of the Bakersfield News Obsever and Virginia Lucille Johnson-Tate of the Northwest Dispatch in Tacoma, Washington.

Other awards presented were:

  • Lifetime Achievement – Maulana Karenga, creator of Kawanzaa and chair of Africana Studies at California State University-Long Beach.
  • Community Empowerment – Susan L. Taylor, CEO of National Cares Mentoring Movement and former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine.
  • Political Achievement – Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
  • Legal and Civil Rights – Attorneys Irving L. Joyner and James E. Ferguson II (attorneys for the Wilmington Ten) and Harvard Law Professor  Charles J. Ogletree
  • Corporate Support and Recognition – Nielsen, General Motors and Macy’s

Susan Taylor said, “Even with all the evidence that we present to potential advertisers, still it’s a struggle to attract our fair share of those dollars.”

In accepting his award, Professor Ogletree said: “We cannot survive without the Black Press. No one else will tell our story, no one else will understand what we’ve gone through, no one will understand how much we have achieved and no one will understand how far we still have to go if it were not for NNPA and the Black Press.”

He added, “We would not be who were are, where we are and do what we do if not for the Black Press lifting us up.”