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U.S. Census Bureau
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newspaper celebrates its 45th anniversary (October
9, 2009) The Washington Informer, an award-winning newspaper, founded on
the principles of storied newspaper publishers, Samuel Cornish and John
B. Russwarm to inform its readers about events that directly affect the
African-American community has reached yet another milestone in its
Founded by the late civil rights activist, Dr. Calvin W. Rolark on
October 16, 1964, to inform District residents about salient issues that
pertained to the black community, the paper also sought to instill a
sense of pride and camaraderie among readers. The Washington Informer,
an institution in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, celebrates
its 45th anniversary this month and continues to provide comprehensive
news coverage with a distinct perspective.
Today, Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes (above) charts the direction of
the publication using the same philosophy she learned by her father's
side: give voice to the voiceless, uplift and educate the black
"My father had the vision to start The Washington Informer early in his
career. With the support, both financial and inspirational, from his
wife, Wilhelmina J. Rolark, he established an institution that I hope
will stand the test of time for generations to come," Barnes said.
"This anniversary is the Washington Informer Newspaper Company's
opportunity to say 'thank you' to our readers and advertisers who have
supported us over the past 45 years. Without them and the contributions
they make to our community, there would be nothing for the Informer to
report," she said
Barnes has also moved the paper into the 21st century by including an
online presence. The Washington Informer currently enjoys 25,000 unique
visitors to its web site on a weekly basis.
"While this anniversary gives us an opportunity to see from where we
have come…and how we have come through, it also forces us to look
towards the future. Our presence online has allowed us to become a
global publication, reaching readers all over the world. And, with that
comes a greater ability to tell the untold story or address the
distorted perceptions about Africans or people of color throughout the
Diaspora," Barnes said.
In the spirit of community, one of tenets on which the paper was
founded, the Washington Informer sponsors the D.C. City-Wide Spelling
Bee in which nearly 3,000 students participate annually. The paper also
provides an opportunity for students to develop journalistic skills
through its sponsorship of the Birney-Savoy Informer, a monthly
supplement included in the paper and penned by students who attend
Birney-Savoy Elementary School in Southeast, Washington, D.C.
Since 1969, the Washington Informer has maintained memberships with the
National Newspaper Publishers Association, the oldest trade association
of African-American owned newspapers in the country and the Newspaper
Association of America.
"This is also my chance to say thank you to the Informer staff -- the
men, women, and sometimes children -- who have dedicated their time to
writing the stories and photographing the events in a highly
professional manner in order to produce a newspaper of excellence."