IPPIES Awards to Honor Essence Magazine Co-founder Edward Lewis

IPPIES Awards to Honor Essence Magazine Co-founder Edward Lewis

Ed Lewis Pub PhotoThe CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and its Center for Community and Ethnic Media (CCEM) are celebrating a number of milestones at its upcoming Ippies Awards, the only awards that recognize the achievements of New York’s independent, ethnic and community media.

To be held on June 5th at the CUNY Journalism School, the Ippies will present its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Essence Magazine Co-founder Edward Lewis, as well as winners from 158 award entries from 48 publications and freelance journalists.

“Ethnic media outlets provide a cultural, political, and educational lifeline to the 37 percent of the city’s population who speak little or no English,” said CCEM Executive Director Garry Pierre-Pierre. “Although I spent much of my career in the mainstream media, I appreciate the fact that ethnic media serve as a bridge between new arrivals and more established immigrants and ensure that the next generation, though assimilated, remains connected to its heritage.”

According to the New York Press Association (NYPA), the combined circulation of 95 ethnic papers in New York City is 2.94 million, or about 28 percent of the city’s population, and the combined circulation of 80 weekly community newspapers is 1.6 million.

A CCEM census of New York City’s ethnic and community media cites 270 publications that serve the immigrant and minority populations, published in 36 languages. Eighteen of them are daily papers that are published in nine languages.

The citation for the Ippies first Lifetime Achievement Award noted the remarkable achievements of Essence Magazine’s Lewis.  After launching the magazine in 1970, Lewis helped build it into what The New York Times called the “pre-eminent voice for black women,” with a readership of more than 7.5 million.

“Ethnic media outlets are no longer on the periphery, but are quickly challenging traditional mainstream media, as demographic changes speed up in New York City and across the United States,” Lewis said.  “I am truly honored to be the first recipient of the Ippies Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Former CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston, now a correspondent for Al Jazeera America, will emcee the  Awards.

The keynote address will be delivered by Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has become a filmmaker and immigration activist. Vargas is the founder of “Define American,”  a non-profit organization intended to open up dialogue about the criteria people use to determine who is an American.

Award winners will be announced in 10 categories, including “Best Story about an Immigrant Community” and Best Investigative or In-Depth Story.”