Sunday, July 24, 2005

Atlanta's John Smith Elected Chair of Black Newspaper Publishers

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Bunnie Jackson-Ransom
First Class, Inc. 404-505-8188

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA. (7/13/05). John B. Smith, Sr., the publisher and chief executive officer of The Atlanta Inquirer, was recently elected chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), also known as the "Black Press of America," during the organization's recent convention in Chicago, Illinois. Smith's election represents the first time in sixty-five years that the leadership of the NNAP has been in the South.

Prior to this election, Smith served tirelessly as the organization's 1st vice chair and its membership services chair since 2003. He has also served as its 2nd vice chair (formerly 2nd Vice President) and other various leadership positions within the organization. Smith is joined by a strong group of other African-American publishers on NNPA's executive committee. These officers that were also elected at the June, 2005 convention include 1st vice chair Cloves C. Campbell, Jr. (publisher of Arizona Informant in Phoenix, Arizona); 2nd vice chair Chris B. Bennett (co-publisher and editor of Seattle Medium in Seattle, Washington); secretary Mollie Finch Belt (publisher of Dallas Examiner in Dallas, Texas); treasurer Lenora "Doll" Carter (publisher of Houston Forward Times in Houston, Texas); members at-large Carol Zippert (publisher of Greene County Democrat in Eutaw, Alabama) and Akwasi Evans (publisher of Nokoa Observer in Austin, Texas).

NNPA's regional boards are led by Miatta Haj Smith (New York Beacon in New York, New York) and Thomas H. Watkins, Jr. (Afro Times in Brooklyn, New York) for Region One (1); Floyd Adams, Jr. (Savannah Herald in Savannah, Georgia) and Jimmy Delnoah Williams (Memphis Silver Star News in Memphis, Tennessee) for Region Two (2); Al McFarlane (Insight News in Minneapolis, Minnesota) and Mary S. Denson (Windy City Word in Chicago, Illinois) for Region Three (3); Francis Page, Jr. (Houston Style Magazine in Houston, Texas) and Terry Jones (New Orleans Data News Weekly in New Orleans, Louisiana) for Region Four  (4); John Holoman (Herald Dispatch Group in Los Angeles, California) and Amelia Ashley Ward (California Voice and San Francisco Sun Reporter in San Francisco, California) for Region Five (5).

The NNPA is a sixty-five year-old association of more than 200 African-American newspapers from across the United States, Canada and the Virgin Islands with more than 15,000,000 readers weekly. Since the dissolution of the Associated Negro Press in 1970, the NNPA has been the industry's only news service, having provided that service since World War II. NNPA Media Services, a print and web advertising placement and press release distribution service, was added in 2000. In 2001, NNPA, in association with the NNPA Foundation, began building BlackPressUSA Network, the nation's premiere network of local African-American community news and information portals. (The national web portal for BlackPressUSA is BlackPressUSA.com).

Smith has been active in NNPA as the advertising manager for The Atlanta Inquirer in the 1960s. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1958 with a B.S. degree in Mathematics and a brief period in the United States Army, he began his work with The Inquirer in February, 1961, as a part-time advertising salesman while teaching mathematics on the high school level in Atlanta. During this time, he also obtained two Masters Degrees from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). He rapidly moved from part-time advertising salesman to advertising manager to vice president to publisher. Publisher Smith has been the single driving force behind the continuous publication of the newspaper for more than thirty of his forty-plus years with The Inquirer.

The Atlanta Inquirer was first published in 1960 as a weekly crusading civil rights newspaper to give voice to the student movement. No local print media at the time would give fair coverage to the efforts by Atlanta University Center students to desegregate places of public accommodation in downtown Atlanta. The paper's motto, "To seek out the Truth and Report it Without Fear or Favor," has been its mantra for all of its 45 years. Smith has often said The Inquirer was founded out of need because the established Black press of the day would print only "safe" Black news that "often edited out the truth."  Jesse Hill Jr. preceded Smith as Inquirer publisher. Herman J. Russell was the former chair of the board.

NNPA Chair Smith stated that he is proud of the confidence that his fellow publishers have shown in him by his election to the top post of the organization, and that he looks forward to continuing his service to the Black Press for many years to come.

Smith has been appointed to many boards of directors in business, and he has provided good sound leadership in every instance. He has been named "Young Man of the Year" in Business and selected as one of twenty-five "City Shapers" in Atlanta Magazine. He has been the recipient of the Morehouse College Alumni Award in the area of Business; Georgia Department of Labor Black History Achievers Awards in Journalism, and was appointed in 1997 by the Mayor of Atlanta to a task force of the city’s Renaissance Program dedicated to "Building an Even Better Atlanta." Recently, he is noted as one of Atlanta’s Most Influential in the 2004 Collector’s Edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta.

Smith's desire for perfection and his knowledge of salesmanship has made him effective in the field of marketing. He has represented The Atlanta Inquirer at the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the first Business Group of the Community Relations Commission to name a few of his business enterprising activities. Smith is a charter member of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, and is also an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, as well as a 32° member of Prince Hall Masons.

Bunnie Jackson-Ransom
First Class, Inc.
404-505-8188
404-505-8358 fax

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