The Pittsburgh Union Progress is happy that some of its local journalism has been named finalists for the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation’s Robert L. Vann Media Awards.

The 35th celebration of the awards will be happen at “A Night of Excellence” dinner at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at the O’Hara Student Center Ballroom at the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

PBMF will be moving into its 51st year of advocating for fair representation of the African American community in the news, working to increase the presence of journalists of color in newsrooms and other media organizations, and recognizing and promoting excellence and quality in the coverage of communities of color.

The Night of Excellence theme, the group says, is a reminder that integrity and the pursuit of access to information and truth allow journalists to report on government corruption, war on the defenseless, and crimes against humanity, but also on local community heroes, the arts, and more.

It’s also a reminder that journalists must seek the highest standards of fairness and inclusivity in their reporting, recognizing that democracy is multilayered and diverse and that journalists must continue to pursue knowledge and a deeper understanding of communities that are different from their own. This helps journalists to better report truth and gain trust in all of the communities they cover.

The categories in which the PUP has finalists are:

Excellence in Visual Presentation: Feature Photography

“Black History Month comes to life at Steel Valley’s Barrett Elementary School” by Steve Mellon

Excellence in Written Journalism Daily Newspapers/News Services: History/Culture/Arts/Entertainment

“Black History Month comes to life at Steel Valley’s Barrett Elementary School” by Andrew Goldstein


“When the Klan came to town 100 years ago, Carnegie residents fought back — and things got bloody” by Steve Mellon

News Feature/Profile

“Meet the mayor’s nominee for Pittsburgh EMS chief, Amera A. Gilchrist” by Bob Batz Jr.

In addition to those awards, selected by out-of-state journalism professors and media professionals, the PBMF Vann committee voted to give four special awards:

  • Legacy Award to Lou Ransom, a retired award-winning editor and journalist who for many years served as managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier and as a community editor/editorial page writer/business writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. His focus on community and mentorship made it possible for scores of Black journalists to find opportunities in local newsroomsr.
  • Communicator of the Year Award to Mark Clayton Southers, the founder and producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co. His work shares the message of the importance of diversity and inclusion to strengthening the
    community through the arts.
  • Trailblazer Award to Cynthia Mendoza and Brown Mama Monologues, a project of theater and social engagement that aims to amplify the voices and concerns of Black and Brown mothers and supports the free expression and communication of underrepresented communities and ideas.
  • Community Champion Award to Future Kings Mentoring, a mentoring and self-development program began by three young adult Black males — Terrell Galloway, Sean Spencer and Isreal Williams — that aims to foster community uplift and cultivate the next generation of Black male leaders.

In addition, the evening will also recognize WESA for the Pittsburgh-area public radio station’s longstanding commitment to diverse journalism and the Rochester Association of Black Journalists in New York for its Black Cinema Series.

Dinner tickets — $20 each for students, $50 for PBMF members and $60 for nonmembers — may be purchased online. For those, more about the PBMF, the awards and the full list of finalists, visit

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh Union Progress

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.