FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 25, 2023
PRESS CONTACT: Kenrick Thomas [email protected]

Washington, D.C. — The Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ) is proud to announce that Denise Rolark Barnes, the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer, is the 2023 recipient of the WABJ President’s Award.

The WABJ president presents this award annually to a member who has made significant contributions to the organization’s growth and reach in the D.C. area. Rolark Barnes will be honored at the WABJ Special Honors & Scholarship Gala on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center on the campus of Howard University. Tickets for the gala can be purchased here.

“The Informer, under Denise Rolark Barnes’ leadership, has been a longtime partner and supporter of our longstanding Urban Journalism Workshop for D.C. area high school students, and its support of WABJ’s inaugural awards gala last year was instrumental to its tremendous success,” said WABJ President Khorri Atkinson.

“WABJ is a volunteer-run organization that heavily relies on membership engagement and contributions to thrive and meet the needs of this moment in our industry,” Atkinson added.  “The WABJ Executive Board appreciates Ms. Rolark Barnes’ contributions and her unwavering dedication to journalistic excellence and advocacy for the D.C. Black community.”

Rolark Barnes succeeded her father, the late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark Sr., who in 1964 founded the weekly newspaper serving the African American community in D.C.  She has not only demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to community building throughout her tenure at the Informer, but also worked assiduously to ensure the publication is a trusted source of news and information about the local Black community.

One of her most significant achievements has been leveraging digital strategies to bolster the Informer’s online presence, an accomplishment that recently earned her the Sales and Marketing Innovator of the Year award by Local Media Association. As Barnes continues to champion diversity, inclusion, and social progress through her work, she remains an inspiring figure and an advocate for positive change.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of more than 300 Black journalists, educators, public relations professionals and student journalists in the Washington, D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional development opportunities and advocates for newsroom diversity, equity and inclusion. WABJ was named 2023 Professional Chapter of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. For more information, please visit

Click for more information