The New York Times (NYT) remains one of the most respected and far-reaching publishing institutions in the world, and authors featured on the pages of that newspaper have opportunities to increase their cultural capital or visibility. African American poets appear in the NYT, and most newspapers in fact, for three main reasons: 1.) a review of a recently published book; 2.) an article about receiving a major award 3.) an obituary.
There are exceptions of course. Sometimes, New York poets are mentioned in articles about the local arts scene for a poetry reading for instance. In addition, poets who participate in activities beyond the seemingly conventional realms of poetry are presented as subjects. For instance, the Times ran a piece on Amiri Baraka concerning his experiences during riots in Newark, New Jersey, in 1967.
By and large, however, in most instances, poets become "news" for those three reasons--reviews, awards, and death.