By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
It seemed only fitting that immediately after presenting the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Publisher Dr. John Warren, legendary singer Miki. Howard performed her classic, “Always There.”
Dr. Warren, who accepted his prestigious award virtually while battling an illness, has remained a steady hand among the more than 230 African American publishers and media company owners who are members of the Black Press of America.
On Friday, Jan. 29, the NNPA saluted the dedicated publisher and community leader for his decades-long hard and inspiring work.
“I am deeply humbled with this award and what it represents coming from those I have grown to love and respect over these decades,” Dr. Warren wrote in a statement accepting the honor.
“I see the Black Press as a sacred trust, and I am glad to be both a part of its 194-year history and future now being made.”
Dr. Warren’s freedom fighting path began early, as many who know him expressed their admiration for the zeal he has always demonstrated when advocating for freedom, justice, and equality.
In 1979, Dr. Warren served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Memphis, Tenn., where he met his wife, Gerri.
For five years, the couple lived in Washington, D.C. while Dr. Warren pursued and completed his law degree.
The two returned to San Diego in 1985 and, two years later, took over the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.
The newspaper set standards in San Diego and around the country with its reporting and poignant editorials.
The Voice & Viewpoint has routinely earned journalism and innovation awards and has set standards in telling stories from the perspective of African Americans.
With Dr. and Mrs. Warren guiding the popular publication, the Voice & Viewpoint has grown as the city’s largest African American newspaper.
Its news features have highlighted people and events in the most comprehensive manner, while its editorial and opinion section is viewed among the most intriguing.
The newspaper, which can be found in all 89 San Diego zip codes, appears on more than 350 newsstands across the city.
Gerri Warren died in 2009, and Dr. Warren and his family have continued the mission of printing and speaking truth to power.
“Each year, a distinguished publisher is honored who has served decades to keep the Black Press of America alive,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., said during the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The presentation occurred during the NNPA Midwinter Training Conference on Friday, Jan. 29.
“It is indeed our pleasure to present Dr. John Warren, Publisher of the San Diego Voice and Viewpoint, with the 2021 NNPA Lifetime Achievement Award, for his contributions in leadership and a lifetime of outstanding service to the community,” NNPA Chair and Houston Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards announced.
In tribute to Dr. Warren, Dr. Chavis concluded, “Tonight, we are pleased to give the award to Rev. Dr. John Warren. He has done an outstanding job as the distinguished publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint. We thank you for your leadership, and we recognize your contribution to the Black Press’s sustainability.
“You are always on the frontlines speaking truth to power and publishing truth to power. On behalf of the NNPA, we are so honored to take this time to honor you for your decades of service, your decades of commitment and for opening the door and being a trailblazer for other publishes to follow. You represent the best of the NNPA.”
The award contained the inscription:
“For outstanding and meritorious lifetime contributions to the Black Press of America, with the highest standards of professional journalism, and the consistent voice of being a transformational freedom fighter, and NNPA publisher.”