From Black Headline News
When alumni return to Tallahassee for FAMU’s Homecoming this month, a Hall of Famer, Top 25er and former Capital Outlook intern and editor-in-chief will be in attendance.
The Black Press was well represented at the joint National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Convention held in Las Vegas over the summer when Cheryl Smith was inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame and the very next month Editor and Publisher named her one of the Top 25 over 50 Publishers in the Country!
Smith currently publishes three newspapers out of Dallas, TX: Texas Metro News, Garland Journal and I Messenger and her multi-media news organization also publishes a daily newsletter, podcasts and television public affairs programs.
A 1980 graduate of FAMU, Smith joined the 2022 NABJ Hall of Fame class that included Publisher Emeritus of the Westside Gazette in Fort Lauderdale, Levi Henry.
When she took to the stage, Smith, saluted Henry as she talked about sitting in classes with his son, Bobby, as journalism students at FAMU. Bobby is now the publisher of Westside Gazette.
In nominating Henry, Smith told of how he became a publisher 51 years ago, “That Mr. Henry’s response to inaccurate and unfair coverage was to start his own newspaper is the story that legends are made of. He met with editors of the daily newspaper in his town of Fort Lauderdale and asked for a retraction because of the negative coverage. The editors said, ‘no.’
“Mr. Henry walked out of those editors’ offices that day, but he was not defeated. Instead he decided to start his own newspaper and focus on truth, fairness and accuracy. This year, the Westside Gazette is celebrating 51 years in existence. The winner of numerous awards for journalism, community and service; Mr. Henry has since turned over the day-to-day duties to his son; however his influence is still felt and he is still held in high esteem by people in the industry and community.”
She also talked about her college internship, saying, “I so wish that Arthur Teele Jr, (former owner) who gave me my first job at the Capital Outlook in Tallahassee… could be here to share this moment.”
When people talk about Smith, they describe a woman who is passionate, committed and no-nonsense. That Cheryl Smith is the lady who for 22 years heated up the airwaves as a talk show host on Soul 73 KKDA-AM and continues today on her own podcast.
A graduate of East Orange High School (New Jersey), in addition to being the editor-publisher of I Messenger Media LLC, the umbrella organization for Texas Metro News, Garland Journal, Metro News and I Messenger, Cheryl has an extensive career across media platforms and as a journalism professor. She was full-time journalism professor at Paul Quinn College and also taught at Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas and Dallas College.
Cheryl is the immediate past secretary and a former regional director of the National Association of Black Journalists, a current board member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Treasurer and Region IV President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and immediate past president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists.
She’s also the former president of the Dallas-Fort Worth FAMU National Alumni Association and the Dallas Metroplex Council of Black Alumni Associations; and has held board positions with UNCF, Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Irving Cares. She is also a founding member of the Black Media Link.
Smith received her masters degree in Human Relations and Business. Prior experience includes editorial stints at several publications, including Dallas Weekly, Dallas Examiner’s Youth Publication – Future Speak, Her works have also appeared in the Dallas Times Herald, Our Texas Magazine, Minority Opportunity News, Ebony Tribune, Black Headline News, and several NNPA publications across the country.
Additionally her collaboration with the Dallas Morning News continues to make headlines.
Her Don’t Believe the Hype Foundation has raised thousands in scholarships and grants for area youth, as well as established a healthy living expo that services thousands annually; providing health screenings, seminars and programming.
She’s the recipient of numerous awards for journalistic excellence, leadership and community service: including Messenger Award from National Newspaper Publishers Association, multiple awards from the Texas Publishers Association, Dallas Press Club, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the NAACP. The National Civil Rights Museum awarded her the “Invisible Giant” Award at 40th commemoration of Bloody Sunday, and in 2005, OMO Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, presented her with the “Image Award.” Smith was honored by the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Journalism Educators Association, named Outstanding Alumni from Council of Black Alumni Associations, Humanitarian Award recipient from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Woman of the Year for Women Empowering Women, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, 100 Black Women and the Business and Professional Women’s Club. She has also received several journalism fellowships, including from National Health Institute, National Geographic, FaceBook, North Carolina A&T State University, National Press Foundation and Western Kentucky University. She also served as director of D/FW NABJ Urban Journalism Workshop for over 15 years.
A Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta and a life member of the FAMU Alumni Association, Smith is the mother to her nephew and three nieces: Andre, Alayna, Annya and Ayanna; who have blessed her with several brilliant grandchildren!
A champion of the Black Press, Smith never passes up an opportunity to share her love.
In her Hall of Fame speech, Smith stressed the importance of the Black Press.
“You see, I chose the Black Press. I chose to go to FAMU, I chose to walk this journey and have never wanted to walk it back,” she said. “I am Black. I am Black-ish and I can get Blackity Black as I tell the stories of my people, and elevate the worlds’ muted voices.”
Urging journalists to consider the Black Press and help it get stronger, she added, “This year the Black Press celebrates 195 years. Thanks National Newspaper Publishers Association and all Black media for being that VOICE, even when those we are speaking for sometimes don’t realize that all ice is 32 degrees Fahrenheit!”