As the year draws to a close, the Indianapolis Recorder looks back on a transformative year marked by remarkable achievements.
Throughout the year, the Recorder remained steadfast in its commitment to amplifying diverse voices. The paper highlighted pivotal stories and serving as a catalyst for change within the vibrant tapestry of Indianapolis.
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The Recorder hosted their annual Champions of Diversity Awards, were recognized and awarded for their work, hosted a mayoral candidate debate focused on the Black community, and collaborated with community partners, like the Greater Indianapolis chapter of the NAACP, to hold local hospitals to task.
“I’m proud about doing forums with hospitals talking about racism as a public health crisis. The goal was to collaborate with the hospitals, but to also hold them accountable. It’s a way to also keep the public informed about what’s going on,” said President and CEO Robert Shegog.
“Last year, we won 19 awards and the year before that we won 20. This year, we won over 10 awards through different entities. So, I always tell my team we’re small but mighty. It just goes to show you just how important Black media is.”
Champions of Diversity
In September, The Recorder took home four awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. This included the 2023 Nina Mason Pulliam Environmental Journalism Award given to reporter Jayden Kennett.
Reporter Timoria Cunningham won first and second place in Best News Coverage with No Deadline Pressure.
The Recorder won first place in the Best Special Section for its “Black History Matters 2023: Educate, Empower and Engage.”
In April, The Recorder won four awards from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists. This included second place in Best coverage of Social Justice Issues, second place in Best Investigative Reporting, Third Place in Best Business or Consumer Affairs Reporting and third place in Best Environmental Reporting.
From chronicling historic events to advocating for social justice, the Recorder’s year encapsulates a narrative of resilience. It showcases perseverance and the unwavering spirit of the city it proudly represents.
Journalism awards won
This year marked the 17th annual Champions of Diversity Awards, where they recognized movers and shakers in the city making a difference in their community.
“We’ve been doing this for 17 years, and this year we had like over 900 people in attendance. We were focused on diversity before it was sexy to other people. At the Marriott next year, we expect over 1,000 people,” said Shegog.
The Indianapolis Recorder hosted two town halls: “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” in June and November.
Each town hall consisted of representatives from four hospitals who spoke about how they are tackling the issue of racism within their health care systems. It is a united initiative with the local NAACP to foster inclusivity and eliminate racial disparities in medical care.
The Recorder also partnered with the African American Coalition of Indianapolis and Radio One to host the first broadcast and live stream of a mayoral debate centered around Black issues in October.
Featuring Democratic incumbent Mayor of Indianapolis Joe Hogsett and Republican contender Jefferson Shreve, the debate was observed online through the Recorder’s YouTube and Facebook pages with three watch parties at local locations, like the Indianapolis Urban League.
“Another thing that was really successful this year was highlighting minority- and Black-owned businesses. A lot of smaller businesses don’t often have the funds for marketing or getting the word out, so it’s a service we’re doing to contribute to the economy within the minority community,” said Editor-in-Chief Camike Jones.
“Looking back, we included a lot of different voices in the paper. We also put a focus on mental health and sharing stories within the diaspora, including Afro-Latino, Haitian and Native American stories.”
Jones said The Recorder is currently in a very unique place in history.
Throughout history, it provided a voice to the voiceless and served as a way for the community to say what was wanted and needed. The paper’s role now is even more important because it holds other news outlets accountable by virtue of still existing.
“We still have that trust and faith from the community. So, it’s really important for The Recorder to continue that legacy, uphold the history and right now just be like that time capsule to capture the moment,” said Jones.
Shegog said that the Recorder’s success could not be achieved without the hard work and dedication of its staff.
“We’re in the process now of moving into this digital space with the website, social media and email marketing. The Recorder was a two-page church bulletin that started in 1895, grew into a newspaper and now we encompass the website, socials and we have Indiana Minority Business Magazine,” said Shegog.
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON.