By: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
AUSTIN- One of the most relevant communication organizations in our country is the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents the nation’s nearly two hundred African American newspaper owners.
Located in Washington, D.C. and managed by Mr. William Tompkins, the NNPA provides professionally written relevant news stories and editorials to its member papers. Some of its weekly columnists include George Curry, the former editor of Emerge Magazine, Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marc Morial, former New Orleans Mayor and CEO of the National Urban League and Lee Daniels, an award winning writer who worked with the New York Times and Washington Post Newspapers.
This year the organization is celebrating its 73rd anniversary. I was honored by the group at a recent event held in Washington, D.C. as NNPA publishers presented me with the Torch Award for Political Achievement. This was a humbling experience since I find it an honor and a privilege to work tirelessly for the improvement of our communities and our country.
Throughout the history of this country the Black Press has been a crucial crucible for the delivery of information to people of color when no other news organizations thought it necessary to cover events of relevance to minorities and progressive thinking people.
The achievements of the Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War were slightly acknowledged in the white press. The remarkable baseball feats of the men and women who played in the Negro Baseball Leagues only received coverage in papers such as the Pittsburg Courier and the Afro-American Newspaper, both members of the NNPA.
Editorial giants such as John H. Sengstacke, the publisher of the Chicago Defender and Daisy Bates, the founder of the Arkansas State Press helped to shape the social fabric of America during the 20th century. They and so many other NNPA publishers provided the news sources for the messages of social activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, legal scholars such as Justice Thurgood Marshall and elected officials such as Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
During my tenure as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus I recognized the NNPA for its exemplary work and its standards of excellence that continue until this very day. A 2012 study by NNPA and Nielsen, a global consumer research organization, projected a $1.1 trillion buying power presence by African Americans in the year 2015. The study suggested that NNPA news outlets are a preferable way for marketers to reach consumers.
The Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and NNPA have been partners in improving the American economic and political climate for all of our citizens. It is a vital partnership that will continue, I believe, for years to come. Congresswoman Johnson is widely recognized as one of the most effective legislators in Congress. She is credited with originally authoring and co-authoring more than 150 bills that were passed by the House and Senate and signed into law. She also has a long-standing reputation for providing excellent constituent services.
Her district office in downtown Dallas specializes in working with all federal departments and agencies to assist constituents in solving a wide range of individual problems.