The Michigan Chronicle is the host publisher of the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s 75th Annual Convention, held this week, June 16 -20, in Detroit. NNPA, America’s largest and most influential black-owned media trade organization, is convening under the theme, “Empowering a New Generation of Leadership.”
All convention events will be held at the downtown Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, with the exception of the International Day of African Youth Program (Wayne County Community College Atrium) the Presidential Reception (Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americans History), and the Chairman’s Reception (Motor City Casino).
NNPA is comprised of 205 Black-owned newspapers across America, which reach 20.1 million readers each week through collective print platforms. Another five million readers are reached by digital platforms.
Hiram E. Jackson, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, sits on NNPA’s national board of directors and chairs its digital committee. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., noted civil rights leader, serves as NNPA’s president and CEO.
Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., NNPA’s chairman for the past four years, will relinquish his role during the convention and would like to pursue chairmanship of the organization’s foundation. A new chairman and board will be voted in at the convention.
Campbell is owner and publisher of the Arizona Informant, a 44-year-old family-owned newspaper that has been the voice for African American communities throughout the state of Arizona. The Phoenix native once served in the Arizona’s State House of Representatives (District 16). He attended Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., as well as the Darden School of Business Legislators Program at the University of Virginia.
The Michigan Chronicle caught up with Campbell recently to hear his thoughts on NNPA’s 75th Annual Convention in Detroit, as well as his tenure as chairman.
MC – How are you enjoying the city?
CC – We are excited about bringing our 75th Anniversary Annual Convention to the city of Detroit. The city has a lot of rich, African American, Black-folk history. It’s a real focal point for Blacks in America. The resurgence of the city, in spite of everything that’s happened to it, shows strong leadership and the resilience of its people.”
MC – What are some of the highlights for this year’s NNPA Convention, and is it only open to NNPA members?
CC – There will be lots of workshops, training sessions, informational forums, interactive panels, speeches and other presentations. We will hold our first ever youth conference that’s in partnership with Wayne County Community College District. We hope that the youth conference will encourage them (youth) to read our newspapers. There will also be a gospel brunch, where we will honor some of the city’s pastors for their work in the community. At our Legacy Awards, we will be honoring Detroit Congressman John Conyers and Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters. We encourage the general public to come see what the Black press and what we (NNPA) are doing. Interested persons would need to register.”
MC – What is the most pressing challenge that NNPA faces?
CC – The biggest challenge is that we must integrate our own tried, true, tested brands that’s been out there in some cases for over 125 years. We must find ways to continue to print, but also find ways to integrate with digital platforms, including social media platforms. We must also meet the challenge of including our young people in the process, because they are our next generation of owners and operators of Black news and information media outlets.
MC – Why is the Black press in America still relevant?
CC – There’s so many different general news platforms now with the internet, cable television, satellite television, and print media outlets that give their perspectives on things that are happening. However, the main thing is that the Black press have brands that Black people trust. If you look at what’s happening in Ferguson and Baltimore and other places, it’s important that we report and discuss such issues that’s facing Black Americans from Black perspectives.”
MC – What are you most proud of in your four years as chairman?
CC – One of the things that I’m most proud of is that we were able to continue to bring funds into the organization and now own a building that we were paying the mortgage on for the last 25 years or so. It was finally paid off and we will now start to work with our foundation to renovate that building. We also reestablished our national office with a full staff, something that we did not have for 15 to 20 years in Washington, D.C. We also hired Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. as our president and CEO. I’ve done what I could to to help advance NNPA, but at the end of the day, it’s a team effort. I’m happy that the board of directors believed in some of the visions that I had to move NNPA forward.”
For more information about the National Newspaper Publishers Association and its many programs and services, or to learn more about the 75th Annual NNPA Convention in Detroit, log on to www.nnpa.org, or contact the national office at 202-588-7348, or email Jackie Willis at email@example.com.