ABOVE: Karen Carter Richards, NNPAF Chairman, Publisher of Forward Times and Bobby Henry, Sr., NNPA Chairman, Publisher of Westside Gazette in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
After serving two successful terms as the Chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) trade organization from 2019 to 2023, her peers have now elected her chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Fund (NNPAF).
While the NNPA is a trade organization which represents over 200 Black-owned media companies across the United States, the NNPA Fund is a 501 c(3) organization that promotes scholastic and professional initiatives designed to honor the historic mission of the Black Press, to explore and celebrate Black culture, fill the void in news coverage of the black experience, and provide compelling content that educates, engages, inspires, and empowers consumers.
“My family has been a part of NNPA for over 50 years, and I feel very honored to serve within this organization, and to have the opportunity to serve at the highest levels within the organization and continue the work of the Black Press, as former Chair of the NNPA and now as the Chair of the NNPA Fund,” said Carter Richards.
Established more than 40 years ago, the NNPA Fund is the non-profit division of the NNPA, delivering value to NNPA members through professional development, strategic partnerships, and heightened access to resources. It provides professional, academic, and pre-professional training for minorities in media, promotes charitable, educational, and literary activities that advance high standards in ethnic media, and manages a scholarship program, an internship program, an awards recognition event and other projects and initiatives.
Focused on Capacity Building as a mission, the NNPA Fund seeks to do that through four primary focuses:
- Focusing on the ever-changing media industry, the NNPA Fund serves as a nucleus for introducing NNPA members to new opportunities for sustainability.
- Business InSight Webinar Series, and newsletters
- Branded Content, Promotions, social media, events, and more
- Acknowledging the historical legacy of advocacy, training is a strategic element in keeping abreast of the changing marketplace.
- Staff Development: Editorial, Sales, and Marketing
- Digital Sales Training, Crowdtangle, Public Data Explorer, and more
- With the goal of feeding the pipeline of future publishers, an investment of time, money, and talent is given to a younger generation of journalists and entrepreneurs.
- Scholarships and Internships
- Hands-on skillsets, Leadership development, Real-world experience & more
As NNPA Chair, Karen’s list of accomplishments during her two successful terms include:
- Being the first to do a NNPA national news series on “Missing Black Girls in America.”
- Growing the NNPA annual membership from 200 to 240 Class A and Class B member publications from 2019 to 2023.
- The NNPA voted to permit African American owned digital publications to become Class B members of the NNPA for the first time.
- In 2020, the NNPA’s annual combined generated revenue for the first time ever exceeded $20 million due to the 2020 U.S. Census and 2020 election year advertising.
- In 2021, the NNPA established its first one-million-dollar Rainy Day Savings Account
- In 2020 and 2021, the NNPA was able to successfully plan and execute two virtual annual conventions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The NNPA 2022 Annual National Convention in New Orleans was another impactful success for NNPA member publishers and for Black America. The legendary Stephanie Mills on stage paid a national salute and tribute to the historic and contemporary importance of the Black Press.
- Working in collaboration with the Google News Initiative from 2021 to 2023, over 50 NNPA member publishers have been engaged in “Digital Transformation” cohorts that have already enabled many NNPA member publishers to increase their respective digital advertising revenue by more than 10% annually.
- This past January, the NNPA had what many have concluded as one of the best and most substantive NNPA Mid-Winter Training Conferences in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- In March during Black Press Week, the NNPA convened at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and presented “The State of the Black Press 2023” that was live streamed across the nation. In addition, at that event at the National Press Club the NNPA launched the “NNPA World News” App.
- For the first time the NNPA Board of Directors established effectively a retirement procedure, policy and guidelines for NNPA staff
- Lastly, but most importantly, the NNPA was successful in attracting more and more involvement of youth and young journalists and publishers to be involved in the present and future growth of the NNPA.
Karen is the CEO and Publisher of Forward Times, the South’s largest independently owned and published newspaper. Since taking the mantle, Karen has turned the Forward Times into a multi-media powerhouse that continues to remain one of the strongest and most trusted voices for African Americans in the Greater Houston area.