There’s something about a room full of black newspaper publishers, they are distinguished in a nitty gritty newsy sort of way, plugged in because that’s the job, and connected by a profound appreciation for written communication. That’s pretty much the picture of the assembly of participants at the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association in Detroit for its 2015 annual convention.
“We are excited about bringing our 75th Anniversary Annual Convention to the city of Detroit. The city has a lot of rich, African American, Black-folk history. It’s a real focal point for Blacks in America. The resurgence of the city, in spite of everything that’s happened to it, shows strong leadership and the resilience of its people,” explained outgoing chairman Cloves Campbell during a reception in his honor at Motor City casino’s spectacular Amnesia club.
The NNPA is the nation’s largest and most influential Black-owned media trade association. NNPA president and CEO, Dr. Benjamin Chavis said the conference theme, Empowering a New Generation of Leadership, is particularly relevant in this benchmark year marking the organization’s 75th anniversary. “We value the opportunity to state on the public record that the evolution of the 188-year living legacy of Black American owned newspapers throughout the United States remains strategically important, insightful, indigenous and impactful.”
The prestigious publisher’s event which opened with its first ever youth conference at Wayne County Community College District’s downtown campus, includes a number of key subject panel discussions, training sessions, awards ceremonies, galas and prominent presenters and speakers.
During Thursday’s particularly dynamic Creating Multiple Streams of Non-Traditional Revenue training session, participants were encouraged to consider particularly stimulating training session on diversifying income streams, Michigan Chronicle publisher and this year’s NNPA convention host, Hiram Jackson, urged participants to position their publications to take advantage of non-publishing sources of revenue, but reassured them that print remains essential to their successes.
Other convention highlights included a General Motors reception and salute to the NNPA in recognition of its 75th anniversary; a riveting keynote address from renowned scholar and Emmy-award winning documentary maker Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, an elegant awards celebration and moving gospel concert featuring Vickie Winans.
Congressman John Conyers and NNPA editor-in-chief George Curry are also on the august list of speakers and award recipients.
“The NNPA’s laser-like focus on economic development and sustainability in the Black community, as well as hot-button issues confronting the Black community has been nothing less than inspirational. I am anxious to get back to [Atlanta] and put the practices I learned here into place,” said Atlanta Daily World general manager and convention participant Lorraine Cochran.