The Miami Times successfully defended its title as the best Black newspaper in the country Thursday night at the National Newspaper Publishers Association annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Miami Times won 10 awards including the coveted John B. Russwurm Trophy, which is presented to the newspaper that accumulates the most points in the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation’s annual journalism competition.
The trophy is named for John Russwurm who, in 1827, co-founded Freedom’s Journal, the country’s first African-American-owned and operated newspaper. They coined the credo: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”
"The recognition is indicative of the high standards we set for ourselves at The Miami Times," said Vice President of Business Development Garth C. Reeves. "The team is driven to providing the best news and layout and beat advertising, circulation and digital services to all who come in contact with us throughout our various platforms."
The Miami Times took the most awards in the competition and placed first in five of the 10 categories in which it won. It finished first in overall General Excellence; Women's/Lifestyle and Youth sections; Use of Photographs; and Best Editorial categories.
The award for Best Editorial was earned for "Inequity noticeable when white kids die," written two weeks after the Feb. 14, 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. The editorial pointed out the markedly different response when children from a white, affluent neighborhood were killed.
"I wondered if it was too soon after the unfortunate and uncalled for shooting to write about the blatant disparity," said Executive Editor Carolyn Guniss, who oversees the newspaper's editorial page. "I wondered if the paper would get hate mail, if the commentary would seem insensitive."
The Miami Times earned second place for Best Entertainment Section and Best Column Writing for Jenny Ziegler's sports writing, "The Ziegler Report."
In the Community Service Award and the Best Original Advertising categories, The Miami Times finished third.
Last year, The Miami Times won 12 awards, including the John B. Russwurm Trophy. It took first place in two categories, five second place awards and four third-place awards.
Brenda Andrews publisher of the New Journal and Guide newspaper in Norfolk, Va., won the Publisher of the Year Award.
Andrews, who hosted last year’s convention, accepted the award from NNPA Foundation Chair Amelia Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter.
California Sen. Kamala Harris opened the program via a video message.
“Thank you for the work that you do … a free and independent Black Press is critical,” said Harris, who received the 2018 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year Award during a ceremony last year. The 2020 presidential hopeful couldn’t attend the event because she was in Miami participating in the second night of debates for Democratic candidates.
During the ceremony, Ford and General Motors formally announced scholarship awards while Kerri Watkins, the publisher of the New York Daily Challenge, handed out the George Curry Award in honor of the late Black Press editor.
“We are all winners because of what we do,” Ashley-Ward said. "We put our lives on the line; we put our bodies on the line; and we do it all for the betterment of our community. So, power to the Black Press of America."