Mississippi Link publisher named NNPA “Publisher of the Year”
By Othor Cain
EditorAl McFarlane, chairman of NNPA Foundation presenting trophy to Hampton at annual conference. Photo by Mark Mahoney / NNPA
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) honored Hampton with its top award, ‘Publisher of the Year,’ during the group’s annual conference last week at the Gaylord Convention Center at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Md.
This award, voted on by members of NNPA is given to a publisher that exudes the qualities of service in the community, service to NNPA and the overall layout and impact of their newspaper. Since 1993, The Mississippi Link has prided itself as being ‘Keepers of the Knowledge for People Who Speak the Truth.’
Nominated for this honor by her long time friend and cohort Rosetta Perry, publisher of The Tennessee Tribune, Hampton had just completed co-hosting duties along side Perry for the conference’s Merit Awards and was stunned to hear her name.“I’m at a loss for words,” said the affable Hampton, who admitted to being caught off guard by the honor. “I’ve learned so much from you,” she said to her fellow NNPA publishers in attendance. “I don’t look so much as to what I can get out of this organization. What I really enjoy is what I can give to this organization.”
This year there were two finalists for Publisher of the Year, Hampton and Rod Doss, publisher of The New Pittsburgh Courier. “He’s such a great person and he’s been doing this a lot longer than I have and he’s had an enormous impact on his community,” Hampton said. “I called him and told him that I was voting for him.”
Turns out Doss could have cast the deciding vote in her favor as he indicated to Hampton that he would be placing his vote for her. “I told him then it would be a win-win situation for everyone,” Hampton shared.
Hampton is committed to excellence and community service. A valued member of College Hill MB Church all of her life, she serves as the church’s announcer, president of the Pastoral Ministry, on the Public Relations Ministry, as a girl scout troop leader and has taught Sunday School for more than 30 years.
Hampton is an at large member of the board of directors for NNPA and serves on its Foundation Board. She has served as the Scholarship chair for the last five years and co-chair of the Merit Awards for two years.
Locally, Hampton has received numerous civic and community awards, including being recognized earlier this year as a Community Service Recipient of the Year honoree by the Beta Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. during their 109th International Founders Day Observance.
In 2016, she received the Image Award in the field of media from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s Mu Sigma Chapter.
Hampton is called on often to either serve as a panelist or as a keynote speaker for Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCUs) Media Day activities. “I value the community that we serve and if I give my word, I want the community to have the assurance that it will be done,” she said.
Two former editors understand why Hampton was given this coveted award. “Jackie is incredibly deserving of this honor,” said Shanderia Posey. “As a former editor, I saw first-hand how tirelessly she worked to ensure the voice of the Black Press resonated with the masses on local and national levels. Because of her efforts scholarships have been granted to budding journalists, positive stories from the minority community are told and political stories are developed with greater perspectives.”
“Having served as one of her editors, I experienced her passion and handiwork in continuously carrying out the historic purpose of the Black Press,” said Gail Brown. “I was simply elated to read that she was recognized with this honor…until now, she has truly been one of NNPA’s dedicated but unsung heroes.”
For Hampton – award in hand – the mission and work continue. “Everyday we must work to ensure that our stories are told in a way that only we can tell them,” Hampton said. “We’ve got to be the voice for the voiceless and ensure that not only are we represented at the table but we are bringing others to the table with us.”
This week Hampton attended a Mississippi Department of Education town-hall meeting where the state articulated its plans for implementation of the new national education mandate for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “Education is the cornerstone for success and as a member of the Black Press it is our civic responsibility to ensure that our children are being educated properly.”
About The National Newspaper Publishers Association
The NNPA is a national trade association of 211 black and women-owned U.S. media companies with a weekly print and digital readership of over 20.1 million black Americans. The Black Press of America is 190 years old. The NNPA is known as the Black Press of America and the Voice of Black America, because its member publishers are trusted, respected and embedded in their local communities where they provide significant influence and impact.
Learn more about NNPA at NNPA.org.