Washington Informer Celebrates Local Influencers

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D. Kevin McNeir | 10/29/2014, 3 p.m.

 

Everyone loves a party especially when they hold the coveted position as the guest of honor.

And to pay tribute to the contributions of leaders from the community, The Washington Informer recently hosted a 50th anniversary reception that allowed participants to reflect on the newspaper’s 50 years of service.

“This paper was founded 50 years ago by Dr. Calvin Rolark because he wanted to provide a vehicle for sharing positive news about D.C.’s black community,” said Ron Burke, advertising and marketing director, The Washington Informer.

The Washington Informer's 50th Anniversary celebration honored 50 Influencers including radio talk show host and activist Joe Madison (right), who shared reflections about his first meeting with Informer founder/publisher Dr. Calvin W. Rolark. He led the audience in Rolark’s iconic quote, "If it is to be, it is up to me."

The Washington Informer’s 50th Anniversary celebration honored 50 Influencers including radio talk show host and activist Joe Madison (right), who shared reflections about his first meeting with Informer founder/publisher Dr. Calvin W. Rolark. He led the audience in Rolark’s iconic quote, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

“Now his daughter, Denise Rolark Barnes, continues that legacy despite the challenges that we and others in print media face today. This evening is about looking back, looking forward and recognizing 50 local trailblazers,” Burke said.

The 50th anniversary influencers’ reception, held at the Carnegie Library in Northwest on Thursday, Oct. 23, marked the last of a series of events sponsored by the newspaper to mark its five decades of weekly news coverage of events in the Greater Washington Area.

The festive affair included performances by the Urban Nation Hip-Hop Choir and students from Richard Wright Public Charter School, a presentation by Jacqueline Woody, special assistant in the Office of the Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and words of congratulations from some of the District’s most respected business and community leaders.

“We thank you for the excellent coverage you’ve given us for 50 years and we encourage all those present to utilize the essential local and regional information that this paper provides every week,” Woody said.

The District’s top official, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, praised The Informer for a job well done.

“This is hugely important,” said Gray, a vocal supporter of the newspaper.

“It is such a positive statement that The Informer has made in 50 years. People generally stumble coming up with the names of other newspapers after The Washington Informer but The Informer has been here for 50 years and the content is extraordinary,” said Gray, 71.

Joe Madison, one of the honorees and often considered the dean of D.C. journalism, agreed.

“The black press is extremely important because while we read The Washington Post, when you see the columns and stories in The Informer, it’s for us,” Madison said.

“Don’t undervalue, underestimate or marginalize this paper. These stories are those that other publications don’t think are important. Most of us wouldn’t have known about Emmett Till or Martin Luther King, Jr. if it wasn’t for the black press. The white press didn’t cover what King did because they didn’t want to give him exposure. The black press put him on the map,” said Madison, 65, an award-winning talkshow host often referred to as “The Black Eagle.”

One representative from Pepco Holdings, Inc., which served as the title sponsor for the evening, said her company has been supporting The Informer since it first opened its doors.

“We have been advertising with The Washington Informer since 1964 – 50 years ago – and we applaud the paper’s publisher for continuing the work that was started by her father,” said Donna Cooper, president of the electric service provider with customers in D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Read More

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