By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
The Mississippi Link’s Jackie Hampton won Publisher of the Year and the St. Louis American earned 10 awards, including the coveted John B. Russwurm and Robert A. Sengstacke trophy for general excellence at the NNPA Foundation’s 2017 Merit Awards.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said the affable Hampton, who admitted to being caught off guard by the honor. “I’ve learned so much from you,” she said to her fellow NNPA publishers in attendance. “I don’t look so much as to what I can get out of this organization. What I really enjoy is what I can give to this organization.”
The Philadelphia Tribune, the Washington Informer and Los Angeles Sentinel also enjoyed a good night inside a packed and festive hotel ballroom.
The Tribune picked up six awards while the Informer and Sentinel each walked away with four.
The New Tri-State Defender won first place awards for Best Youth Writer and Best Column Writing.
For the St. Louis American, however, the NNPA has repeatedly—and deservedly—paid homage to the award-winning newspaper, which continues to set standards not just for the Black Press, but for all publications around the globe.
“It was a whole team of people who worked so hard and we had excellent competition, so it really is an honor to be recognized by our peers in this way,” said Kenya Vaughn, the website editor for the St. Louis American. “I’m very proud and humbled that [the NNPA] recognized us and recognized that we are informing and shaping the minds of our communities through what we publish and print and we do not take that lightly.”
Irv Randolph, the managing editor of the Philadelphia Tribune, said he was thrilled with the honors his paper received.
“It’s always good to compete with some of the best Black papers in the country and to help raise awareness about the African-American press,” Randolph said.
Among the honors earned by the Tribune were first place awards for Best News Story, Best Church Section, the Don King Best Sports Section and Best Entertainment Section.
D. Kevin McNeir, the managing editor of the Washington Informer, whose awards included first place for Digital Excellence, said it’s nice to be honored, but the real treat is providing a service to African-American readers.
“We don’t do it for awards, but it’s always good when we are acknowledged for the many hours of hard work that we do on behalf of our community,” said McNeir, who earned second place in the Best Feature Story category for his riveting piece titled, “The Hurt is Real, but We Heal- Sybrina Fulton.”
Others first place winners include the Amsterdam News for Best Editorial; Houston Defender for the Carl Murphy Community Service Award; Cincinnati Herald for Best Feature Story; The Skanner for Best Layout and Design- Broadsheet; Houston Forward Times for Best Special Edition; and the Michigan Chronicle for Best Business Section.