The Black Press: ‘Same Spirit. Same Mission. New Vision.’
7/22/2019, 10:55 p.m.
Karen states that her mother was like a drill sergeant, making her arrive early and stay late. She had to learn everything from the front door to the back door, and at the time she did not realize that Doll was preparing her and grooming her for one of the most devastating events in her life. As a result of a massive heart attack on April 10, 2010, Doll unexpectedly passed away and, just like her mother, Karen had to take over the daily operations of the Forward Times without a traditional transition of power.
Upon taking the mantle, Karen immediately turned the newspaper into a multimedia powerhouse that continues to remain one of the strongest and most trusted voices for African Americans in the Greater Houston area.
Karen believes the challenges and adversity she faced as a newly minted publisher, coupled with the things she has learned from being around her fellow NNPA publishers, have prepared her for her new role as the newly elected chair of the NNPA.
“I’m a publisher,” said Richards. “After my mother unexpectedly passed away in 2010, and our editor of 40 years passed away two months after her, I was faced with the responsibility of taking a challenging situation and making it work. I knew it would be hard, but I was up for the challenge. Ten years later, the Forward Times still stands strong, and I stand even stronger because of what my parents taught me and because of what I learned from the NNPA publishers. The publishers are my first priority. We must educate, equip and empower all of our NNPA publishers so they can make an even greater impact in their respective markets.”
Karen will be working with an all-women executive board to begin her tenure as NNPA chair, with Janis Ware of The Atlanta Voice being elected as first vice-chair, Fran Farrer of The County News as second vice-chair, Brenda H. Edwards of the New Journal and Guide as treasurer, and Jackie Hampton of The Mississippi Link as secretary.
Karen expressed her excitement about the future of the NNPA, stating her eagerness to work with her fellow colleagues to move the organization forward, and make sure the organization is in a better position to strengthen all of its member publishers and their respective newspapers.
Some of her top priorities as chair of the NNPA include:
• Educate, equip and empower the publishers with the tools to make it easier for them and their sales teams to talk with advertisers and make their newspapers more attractive, not only nationally but in local markets as well.
• Developing a nationwide marketing campaign to highlight every NNPA member newspaper in their respective markets.
• Create an editorial committee to collectively take on issues that are affecting the Black community across the country.
Richards states that there are many more initiatives that she hopes to work with her colleagues to implement, but she really wants to focus on doing some immediate things that will help all NNPA member publishers – short and long term.
Jeffrey Boney is a political analyst for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPress-USA.com and the associate editor for the Houston Forward Times. He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.