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Washington Informer Takes Top Honor

Washington Informer, News Report, Joseph Young Posted: Mar 24, 2008

Editor's note: Denise Barnes Rolark was a presenter at NAM's awards dinner in Washington, D.C. in November, 2006. Her weekly paper has become a community landmark that has endured for over 40 years.

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Informer took grand prize in the 2008 Chrysler Financial/National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation Entrepreneurial Award program.

The Award program recognizes the nations black-owned newspapers for their entrepreneurial accomplishments and commitments to community service.
denise rolark barnesWashington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark
Barnes receives the $10,000 award.

It also seeks to encourage members of the black press to look beyond traditional streams of revenue, such as advertising, and to develop creative ways to thrive in todays competitive media industry.

Informer publisher Denise Rolark Barnes received the award on March 13 at the Washington Hilton, during the Newsmaker of the Year Dinner sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a group of more than 200 Black community newspapers.

As grand prize winner, the Informer received $10,000 and the use of a Chrysler Jeep or Dodge vehicle for one week. Rolark Barnes also was presented an original sculpture, designed especially for the Entrepreneurial Award by Washington artist Cheryl Foster.

NNPAs Newsmaker award went to Sen. Barack Obama. He stands at the threshold of making American history, said Ofield Dukes, chairman of 2008 Black Press Week. Sen. Obama was not there to receive his award. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Ill.,) an Obama supporter, accepted in his place.

I didnt know he was going straight to the top, Conyers said.

Conyers also railed against Geraldine Ferraro who said in an interview last week that Obama would not have made it this far if he were not Black.

Not because he is intelligent and smart, Conyers mused. We are tremendously proud of him.
tom joynerMorning show host Tom Joyner won
the Northstar Community Service Award

Conyers took home NNPAs Lifetime Achievement Award and Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and founder of www.BlackAmericaWeb.com, was honored with the Northstar Community Service Award.

The Newsmaker of the Year Awards Gala marked the inception of the first black newspaper, Freedoms Journal, 181 years ago.

The Washington Informer won grand prize for the Birney Informer, a monthly supplement produced entirely by third and fourth grade students at Birney Elementary School in Southeast, Washington.

The Informers involvement with this project took it beyond a mere mentoring program, said William Jones, chief operating officer for Chrysler Financial. This project not only contributes to the positive self-esteem of the students, but the Informer is using it as an opportunity to promote literacy in the community as a whole.

The Birney Informer is distributed as an insert in The Washington Informer the third Thursday of the month. An additional 1,000 copies are distributed to the school for students, teachers and parents, which increased the overall circulation of the newspaper. The Birney Informer also is posted and archived on the Informers Web site.

Honorable mention prize went to Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku, executive editor of the Tri-State Defender, for their campaign to educate the Memphis community about the importance of tipping - an important issue since the restaurant industry is a major employer in the community. The campaign not only helped to increase the newspapers bottom line but affected an entire segment of the Memphis economy.

The Tri-State Defender was awarded $2,500 and a commemorative plaque.

These two publications exemplify the spirit of the Entrepreneurial Award in their mission to inform and serve their communities, Jones said.

Joseph Young can also be reached at: josephyoung1@msn.com

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