At Howard University on December 2, the Washington Associated of Black Journalists (WABJ) held their awards gala. The event took place at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center on Howard’s campus. 

With over 300 journalists, communications professionals and others in attendance, WABJ awarded Denise Rolark Barnes, the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer in the District of Columbia, the 2023 President’s Award. 

WABJ awarded Washington Post Managing Editor Krissah Thompson the inaugural Dorothy Butler Gilliam Trailblazer Award. This award is presented by the WABJ Executive Board and named in honor of journalism legend Dorothy Butler Gilliam. In 1961, Gilliam became the first Black woman reporter at the Washington Post. She later worked as an editor and columnist at the Post before retiring in 2003. 

Kristen Welker, who was named the new moderator of NBC News Sunday morning political show “Meet the Press,” was awarded WABJ Journalist of the Year. This award recognizes a Washington, D.C. area Black journalist for their groundbreaking accomplishments and distinguished body of work over the past year. 

WJLA DC Bureau Chief Sam Ford, a legend in the District of Columbia known for his human touch and deep connection to community over four decades, was also honored. 

Street Sense Media, a well-known nonprofit recognized for its exceptional coverage of homelessness issues in the D.C. area, was the inaugural recipient of the 2023 Dr. Sheila Brooks Community Impact Award.  Pat Lawson Muse, who recently retired from News4 Washington after more than 40 years, was the recipient of the 2023 WABJ Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Biden Administration staff member and former aide to Congressman Jim Clyburn, Erica Loewe, the former Director of African American Media at the White House, was the recipient of the 2023 WABJ Excellence in Communications Award. 

Sonya Ross, founder and editor-in-chief of Black Women Unmuted, was the recipient of the 2023 WABJ Legacy Award and Phil Lewis, senior front-page editor at the HuffPost, is the recipient of the 2023 WABJ Young Journalist of Excellence Award. 

The WABJ Awards were hosted by WUSA9 anchor Lorenzo Hall and Anna-Lysa Gayle, an anchor at DC News Now. WABJ President Khorri Atkinson was praised many times from the stage during the ceremony as the organization shows signs of expansion and elevated enthusiasm. 



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