The Richmond Free Press received national recognition for its commitment to the local community with the Carl Murphy Award for Community Service presented by the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

The 2021 NNPA Fund Messenger Awards were announced virtually on June 24 and recognize excellence in reporting, photography, advertising, website and other categories by more than 200 African-American-owned newspapers across United States. The judgment was based on the best work done in the 2020 calendar year.

The Free Press also won the top spot for layout and design among wide-format newspapers, with judging based on the use of headlines, text, photos and graphics and the overall quality of the layout. in page and design.

The Free Press received second place for the Ida B. Wells Social and Criminal Justice Award for a front page article by freelance writer Brian Palmer about protesters taking first steps to demolish racist Confederate statues in Richmond in June 2020. The Free Press also won third place for the Emory O. Jackson Health Award for the November 2020 Freelance Nichole M. Christian front page profile of Jade Jones, a Respiratory Intensive Care Unit nurse. from VCU Medical Center working on the front lines to help patients with COVID-19.

The Carl Murphy Award, named in honor of the fiery editor and civil rights activist who served as president and editor of the African-American Newspaper Co. from 1918 to 1967, honors the free press for breadth of his articles, his photos and his editorials. to its readers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The entry included a series of articles on the pain and triumph of individuals, families and businesses during the pandemic; the weekly homepage informing readers of the latest free COVID-19 testing sites – and now vaccination sites – in the Richmond area; where and when the parents of the 24,000 students at Richmond Public Schools could have free breakfast and lunch for their children; instructions on how to make your own COVID-19 mask, how to strengthen your immune system, and how to access physical and mental health care through new telehealth efforts; and photo kits of families and school majors on their porches talking about lessons learned during the pandemic.

“The Richmond Free Press news team has once again been hailed as one of the best newspapers in the United States by the National Newspaper Publishers Association,” said Free Press editor Jean Patterson Boone. “I applaud the hard work and talent recognized by the judges of the NNPA. The community of Richmond is extremely fortunate to experience their work every week.

The 2021 NNPA Fund’s John Russwurm Pinnacle Award for Best of the Best of the Black Press went to St. Louis American and publisher Donald Suggs.