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The Washington Informer Receives Top Honors

WI Staff Report | 6/23/2010, 11:23 a.m.

The Washington Informer Receives Top Honors
WI Staff Report

The Washington Informer received the John H. Sengstacke General Excellence First Place Award from the National Newspaper Publisher's Association during its annual convention in New York City on Thu., June 19. The award recognizes an NNPA newspaper that maintained a high standard of journalism and publishing in 2009.
"This award represents the hard work and dedication the staff of The Washington Informer continues to give to produce a quality newspaper," said Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes. "It is an extreme honor to be recognized by your peers."

The Washington Informer also received the second place award for the Robert L. Vann Best Layout and Design in the tabloid division. Upon hearing the news, newspaper designer Brian Young said, "It's not about the prize for me, but the legacy of Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, and what is next. It gives me a chance to make a difference."

The late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark established the Washington Informer on October 16, 1964. Upon is death in 1994, his daughter Denise Rolark Barnes became publisher. Today, the Informer serves more than 50,000 print readers in the District, Maryland and Virginia, as well as 30,000 unique visitors on its website and 7,500 supporters who receive the weekly email blast. The Washington Informer also produces a weekly television show on DCTV and has sponsored the Washington Informer Spelling Bee for the past 28 years.

"We strive to be relevant to our community and to be a positive influence to our readers and advertisers," said Ron Burke, director of marketing and advertising. "This tells us that our efforts are not going unnoticed."

The NNPA, also known as the Black Press of America, is a 69-year old federation of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers across the United States. Each year, the NNPA presents the Merit Awards competition and honors the outstanding newspapers in a broad range of categories.

The General Excellence Award is named after the late Chicago Defender publisher John H. Sengstacke who, in 1956, turned the newspaper into a daily. The Defender was the nation's largest African-American owned newspaper, and Sengstacke later purchased a chain of newspapers including the Pittsburgh Courier, Tri-State Defender and the Michigan Chronicle. He also established the NNPA and served as president for seven terms. He died in 1997.