Black publishers in Chicago to reenergize Black Press

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Dr. Benjamin Chavis

Crusader staff report

Black publishers from around the country are in Chicago this week for a three-day retreat that aims to strengthen and reenergize the Black Press to take on a tougher advertising market, and improve news coverage in the digital era.

It’s the first major meeting of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) under the leadership of its new chairman, Chicago Crusader Publisher Dorothy R. Leavell. She was elected chairman in June at the organization’s annual convention in Oxon Hill, MD.

Reverend Ben Chavis, president of NNPA and one of the Wilmington 10, is cohosting the retreat.

Leavell will usher in a new era during the NNPA Board Retreat, an event held after the swearing in of a new administration. From August 17-19, NNPA board members, NNPA Foundation members and five regional leaders will gather in Oakbrook at the Hyatt Lodge on the McDonald’s campus. They will attend workshops geared toward helping Black newspapers address pressing problems affecting advertising and editorial coverage in a challenging political climate, where recent events continue to renew racial tension across America.

Full day sessions will be held on Thursday and Friday of the NNPA leadership meeting.

The retreat begins on Thursday, August 17 with a dinner and an informal conversation that will provide an overview of the retreat agenda, which aims to stimulate ideas and pump new life into the Black Press.

On Friday, August 18, Leavell will lead Chicago and Gary business and   community leaders in a “Dialogue with the Black Press,” a frank discussion about recent news events that are tearing apart Black America.

On Saturday, August 19, participants will engage in workshops throughout the day, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Like many Black organizations, NNPA is at a critical crossroads. Several historic Black newspapers are on the verge of closing as advertising revenues continue to fall at an alarming rate. Many weekly publications are down to publishing once a month. Meanwhile, white supremacy groups, police shootings and President Donald Trump have made the Black Press more important than ever.

It’s a daunting challenge for Leavell, who inherited the Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader when her husband, Balm L. Leavell died in 1968.

 

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