The Sacramento Observer was declared the nation’s best Black newspaper, a recognition that was among 16 awards the news organization won last week at the National Newspaper Publishers Association annual convention. 

The Observer, which has provided news to Northern California’s Black community since 1962, won the John B. Russwurm Award as America’s best Black newspaper at the 2023 Messenger Awards ceremony in Nashville. This is the seventh time The Observer has won the top award. 

The awards ceremony is organized by the NNPA, a trade association of more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers from around the United States. 

William Hanford Lee, a former real estate broker and businessman, founded The Observer. When he died 2019, his youngest son, Larry Lee, took over the leadership role as the newspaper’s publisher. He attended last week’s awards ceremony and directed credit to The Observer’s news staff. 

“I’m so thankful for our team,” Lee said in an article published in The Observer. “Winning awards such as these isn’t possible without a great team, and I will put our team up against any other newsroom in the nation.” 

The Observer also won four first-place awards in the categories of newspaper excellence, video campaign, special edition and website excellence, the newspaper reported. It won seven second-place awards in entertainment; Instagram campaign; business; health; fashion, beauty and lifestyle; layout and design; and editorial and opinion. 

 The Sacramento newspaper had three third-place awards for environment, Facebook campaign and community service; and Lee was named Publisher of the Year. 

The Observer, over the past 60 years, has been recognized for its work with more than 700 local and national awards for journalism excellence and outstanding community service. The California Newspaper Publishers Association in May awarded The Observer third place for best weekly newspaper in the state. 



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