National NABJ News

NABJ Congratulates Rashida Jones, Senior VP of Specials for NBC News and MSNBC

(NABJ – Washington, D.C.) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) extends congratulations to longtime NABJ member Rashida Jones, who was recently appointed Senior Vice President of Specials for NBC News and MSNBC. She was previously managing editor of MSNBC ‘s day side programming.

Jones has been integral in the network’s rebranding and focus on breaking news coverage. Under her leadership, MSNBC day side programming saw year-to-year triple-digit growth, a trend that continues.

“I’m am very excited to take on this position and thankful for all of the support NABJ has provided over the years,” Jones said.

In making the promotion announcement to staff, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said Jones “brings deep knowledge of cable, breaking news coverage and events programming to her new role.”

Before her time with MSNBC, Jones was the news director for WIS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina, where she rebuilt and rebranded the news team to focus on investigative reporting. The station was solidly No. 1 in the market.

She was also director of live programming at The Weather Channel, leading network coverage and programming for some of the world’s most historic weather events, such as Hurricane Katrina.

“We are thrilled that Rashida Jones has been given this well-deserved promotion. It is a reflection of her skills as a newsroom leader. She is a mentor and friend to many NABJers and we are proud of her continued success as a television executive,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover.

Jones is a 2002 graduate of Hampton University.

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From NABJ Website

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2017) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns the passing of NABJ Founder Claude Lewis, also a founder of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ). Lewis died Thursday morning at Virtua Voorhees Hospital in Voorhees, N.J. He was 82.

Lewis was a highly respected journalist and mentor to many journalists. Born and raised in New York City, he attended public schools and graduated from City College with a degree in English. Lewis worked as an editor and reporter for newspapers and magazines, such as Newsweek, New York Herald Tribune, and The Philadelphia Bulletin.

He taught at Villanova University and also wrote a column for The Bulletin until it folded in 1982. Later, Lewis wrote a syndicated column for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“This is a very sad day. Claude was a great mentor for me at The Bulletin. He always had time to talk with a young journalist trying to navigate the newsroom. He was the calm spirit that guided many of us,” said former colleague and NABJ Founder Sandra Dawson Long Weaver.

Known as one of the “original three,” Lewis along with fellow Philadelphia journalists Chuck Stone and Acel Moore laid the groundwork for and later founded the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) in 1973. Lewis and many of PABJ’s early members contributed to the formation of NABJ in 1975 in Washington, D.C.

“Founder Claude Lewis was a gentle giant and kind soul whose passion for equality and equal opportunity can be seen in his columns and life’s work. He had a personal impact on the trajectory of many NABJ members, myself included, showing us all the way,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover.

“Claude lives on in all of us. I thank him for instilling in me, and my peers, a deep level of tenacity and commitment to the cause.”

Lewis had an extensive career in broadcasting, writing and producing various TV specials and documentaries with NBC and Westinghouse Broadcasting.  In 1982, he founded the first national African-American newspaper, The National Leader.

NABJ Founder Joe Davidson worked with Lewis at The National Leader and first met him when both worked at The Philadelphia Bulletin.

“Claude was an important force in journalism in the 1970s. He meant a lot to me personally and to a lot of black journalists professionally,“ Davidson said. “He lured me away from The Inquirer to work as managing editor at The Leader.  It was an opportunity to serve the black community with high quality journalism. I was really proud of the work we did together on that newspaper,” Davidson added.

Lewis covered the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, meeting and interviewing such icons as Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  In 1968, Lewis left a meeting in Philadelphia to join the King family in Memphis immediately after receiving the news that King was shot.

“Claude was a journalist miles ahead of his time, and he achieved recognition long before many recognized him,” said NABJ Founder Paul Brock.

Former NABJ President Vanessa Williams, a national reporter with the Washington Post, remembers Lewis fondly.

“I remember Claude as a friendly and encouraging colleague when we worked together at the Philadelphia Inquirer. His door was always open and he didn’t hesitate to share his contacts, expertise and advice to young journalists. He and Acel were like these twin towers of black journalism excellence in Philly. We should honor them by continuing their tradition of being fierce advocates for the truth, especially in this current political climate,” Williams said.

NABJ extends its sincerest condolences to Founder Lewis’s family and the countless friends within the journalism community who he leaves behind.

Lewis is survived by his wife Beverly, four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  A memorial service is planned for a later date.

 

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An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit  www.nabj.org.

Cheryl Smith Appointed NABJ Secretary

Cheryl Smith

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is pleased to announce that former Region VII Director, Cheryl Smith, is the organization’s new secretary.

Smith was recently appointed to the office by NABJ President Sarah Glover.

“I’m excited to welcome Cheryl Smith to the NABJ board team. Her years of experience serving NABJ on the national and chapter level are noteworthy. She brings a strong passion for NABJ service to the national board once again,” said Glover.

An award-winning reporter, Smith has worked as an editor, columnist, and staff writer for The Dallas Weekly. She is currently publisher and editor of the IMessenger News Group, a
multi-platform news organization that consists of two print newspapers, one digital news magazine, an online radio show and a television program.

She is especially proud of her work with the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop, where she has made an impact on aspiring journalists from middle school to age 55.

Smith, a Florida A&M University graduate, previously served two terms as NABJ Regional VII Director. She is the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists.

“I am excited about the opportunity to once again serve NABJ at the national level, This is a critical time when the successful execution of NABJ’s strategic plan is necessary and the industry is rapidly evolving,” said Smith.

The organization’s former Secretary Sherlon Christie stepped down for family reasons.

“I wish outgoing NABJ Secretary Sherlon Christie well. He is a longtime supportive member and strong leader. I hope to see him on the NABJ board again in the future, ” said Glover.
About the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ):

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.

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Three Reuters-National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) fellows have joined the Reuters newsroom as part of the 2017 program. The Reuters-NABJ fellowships honor rising reporters, recent graduates or business professionals who demonstrate a clear commitment to a career in journalism and an ability to generate story ideas relevant for a Reuters audience, with a focus on multimedia, using text, video and/or graphics. The paid fellowship program offers hands-on, real-world experience in a Reuters bureau in the U.S.

“We are proud to offer these bright, young journalists the opportunity to develop their skills and enhance their careers through the Reuters-NABJ fellowship program,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler. “Expanding diversity in the newsroom is of critical importance to Reuters, and we’re honored to collaborate with the NABJ in this commitment.”

Sarah Glover, NABJ President said, “I’m excited for the new class of Reuters-NABJ fellows. The firsthand reporting experience for one of the world’s leading media companies is unmatched. The opportunity to work inside Reuters cutting-edge newsrooms expands the skill set of fellows and brings new perspective to the news team — a win-win.”

This year’s Reuters-NABJ fellows are:

Nigel Manuel (@TheRealNigelMan) is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, working with Reuters digital team in San Francisco on the social media, web, and TV teams covering technology. While at UC Berkeley, he got to helm and cover the local elections for Oakland as the nighttime site editor.

Ruthy Muñoz (@ruthymunoz) is covering energy for Reuters in Houston after interning for the wire service in Washington, D.C., where she covered breaking and national news, the Dakota Access Pipeline, collected data for an upcoming investigative series and scooped exclusive data about the Pentagon’s EpiPen expenditures. Prior to joining Reuters, Ruthy also interned in radio and wrote for newspaper and online platforms as well as being a copy editor for a bilingual magazine. A first generation American, born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic and a veteran of the U.S. Army and the 82nd Airborne Division, Ruthy was the first college graduate in her family, earning a dual degree in Chinese studies and French, along with minors in Spanish and journalism from the University of Houston in May, 2016. A native New Yorker, global citizen and polyglot, having lived or traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, in addition to 45 of the 50 states, Ruthy is a single parent with two grown daughters.

Renita D. Young (@RenitaDYoung) is located in the Chicago bureau, where she’s discovering unique ways to use multimedia to report on the agriculture commodities markets. Recently, she was a web producer for WBBM’s combined TV and radio website, CBSChicago.com. Prior to that, she was a staff reporter for NOLA.com, the Times-Picayune’s Baton Rouge hub covering business, the oil and gas industry, development, entrepreneurship and breaking news. Renita formerly worked for Reuters as a stringer and at theGrio.com, covering breaking crime, education, social justice and politics happening in the Chicago, Northwestern Indiana areas, and at the State Capitol. She also worked for WVON Radio in Chicago as an anchor and show contributor, and was a business reporter for K24-TV, Nairobi, Kenya’s first locally-headquartered 24-hour news network. Currently the secretary of her local NABJ chapter, Renita is a native Chicagoan who completed her bachelor’s in Communication and English from DePaul University and a master’s in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Media Contact: Heather.Carpenter@thomsonreuters.com

NABJ and NBC Meet –

Representatives from NBC and NABJ recently met to discuss the departure of former NBC anchor Tamron Hall. The meeting was an opportunity for NABJ to express its concerns over the loss of the popular anchor from the Today Show with the possible replacement of former Fox talk show host Megyn Kelly. It was a productive meeting that set the stage for additional face-to-face dialogue regarding diversity initiatives that will ultimately benefit NBC and NABJ members. Face-to-face meetings are also on the horizon with other media companies.

South Florida Black Journalists Association Hosts Successful Job Fair

A funny thing happened on the way to the first-ever South Florida Black Journalists Association’s (SFBJA) Media Career Fair on Jan. 25. After expecting only 50 attendees, the planners were ecstatic when the numbers skyrocketed to more than 300. The attendees weren’t only local; they came from as far as Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia.
The fair was chaired by Juan Diasgranados, also SFBJA’s former VP-Broadcast. He noted that South Florida, part of NABJ Region III, is a unique region in the United States. “We’re one of the few places that has a population that’s overwhelmingly majority-minority,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to host a career fair to cater to the audience here in South Florida.”

SFBJA promised the recruiters that it would have a diverse set of registrants attending the fair, said Diasgranados. “It’s important to hire within the region instead of bringing talent from outside South Florida,” he said. “The Tri-County area is full of talent, so we wanted to have a chance to showcase that to our local recruiters.”

The fair had 18 companies in attendance including the Miami Herald, the South Florida Business Journal, WPLG/Channel 10, Telemundo, I Heart Media, the Sun Sentinel, NBC 6, the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat.
Samantha Ragland is a recruiter for the Palm Beach Post who learned about the fair after Diasgranados texted her in November and asked her to be on a panel. “In my former life, I was an adjunct professor and I loved it. Nothing energizes a life like students hungry for knowledge, so I try to give back as often as I can,” she said.

Ragland attended the fair with a few missions. “One was to recruit a full-time social media producer, the last of which was hired at the NAHJ job fair at FIU in Spring 2016. Two, I wanted to recruit for possible interns and spread the word about Cox Media Group’s Digital Talent Program, a super rad career program for digital journalists of color,” she said. “And three, to pour into whoever needed to be filled.”

The panels created by Diasgranados were great, said Ragland. “The applicants listened and soaked up everything. Some stayed after to ask more questions. Often, they needed simply to be encouraged,” she observed. “The field is competitive and the application process can be disheartening. Can you believe that I’m actually still answering emails from the fair? They’re asking about business cards and resume advice and to tell me they’ve applied. It’s great.”

The quality of the job fair attendees was great, said Ragland. “I was especially appreciative of their diverse experience. There were several who had been out of the industry for years, others who were venturing into media entrepreneurial projects, some recent grads and others still in school. The conversations were great,” she said.

“Most seemed to want careers in broadcast, which I took as an opportunity to speak with them about digital media opportunities and to expand their job search to include digital positions and not just on-air ones since the former is such a cool blend of broadcast, print and digital skills,” Ragland noted. “While I’m not the hiring manager for the social media producer position or for the interns at The Palm Beach Post, I’m often on the interview panel. We are definitely hiring for these positions and look to have them filled as soon as possible.”

Sofie Tapia, a recent graduate from the University of Kentucky journalism program, flew in specifically to attend the job fair after learning about it in the NABJ Student Facebook group. “I have yet to find a job and am in the limbo phase that most graduates go through,” she said. “Fortunately, I found out about the job fair and have a friend who lives in Miami. I decided that it was worth it to pursue job options in Miami since I was able to do so with relative ease.”

The job fair had a decent range of candidates in fields ranging from print to radio to broadcast, said Tapia. “One of the strongest aspects of this career fair was the discussion panel. It was helpful to have professionals in the field answer questions and prepare candidates before they even spoke to potential employers,” she said. “Some of the employers at the booths even gave attendees tips on their resumes.”

There were recruiters looking to hire interns and professionals who knew how to read and write Spanish and Creole, said Diasgranados. “That’s uncommon in other areas [of the country]. We also wanted this event to be our kick off to unite fellow journalists in the area and bring on board new members at the start of the year,” he said.

Attendees also had the chance to attend two career-related workshops that turned out to be a hit, said Diasgranados.

“Both workshops were filled to capacity, to the point we had people standing up to listen to the panelists,” he said. “Everyone’s path is different. We wanted to provide thought-provoking plenary workshops to discuss resumes, how to get your foot in the door, industry changes and hot topics, including fake news. It also provided a chance for job seekers to ask questions and meet with panelists one on one after so they could ask questions and get advice.”

The career fair was a vision dating back to last August, Diasgranados recalled. “I pitched the idea to then-President Suzette Maylor, who loved the idea and said, `Go for it, and let me know how we can assist you.’ Little did she know that I was dead serious on making this the biggest event the chapter has ever put on,” he said.

At the chapter’s December board meeting, a goal of having 50 to 80 people show up was set, said Diasgranados. “We said 50 would be satisfactory and 100 would be good. It took everyone by surprise when the checked Eventbrite the night before the event and it showed 271 RSVPs,” he said.

SFBJA had only booked a small classroom, said Diasgranados. “So we had to come up with a new game plan that night to handle crowd control. So in all, it took about five months to plan. I had a committee work with me along the way, so it made managing the event 10 times easier,” he said. “We spent very little on our fair. We received sponsorships for breakfast and lunch for the recruiters. We did purchase signs and wristbands. Overall, we may have spent $180.”

Diasgranados has advice for other NABJ chapters who may want to put on a similar event. “Give yourself at least five months to plan. It may sound easy, but it’s far from it. There are so many pieces to hosting an event like this and it’s impossible to do it with only two or three people, so plan to have a committee of at least five people who are ready to work,” he advised. “If you’re starting from scratch like us, it takes a while to find and locate the various recruiters at each company. And reaching out to sponsors also takes time.”

Finding panelists that fit within your panel can be tricky, said Diasgranados. “Marketing is a big component. The Miami Dolphins did very well this season (unexpectedly) and made the playoffs, so that was a concern to us,” he said. “We also had to schedule around the inauguration. It’s hard to predict what will happen five months ahead, so all you can do is plan and prepare for any scenario.”

The chapter plans to carry the momentum from the fair by continuing to train up-and-coming minority news reporters and help them succeed in their careers, said Diasgranados. “Also, a lot of the job-seekers have never been to NABJ convention, so we wanted to show them on a smaller scale how we run the career fair and workshops,” he explained.

The ultimate goal was to help the job seekers find their next professional opportunity and even connect them with possible long-term mentors who could help guide them in their future endeavors.

NABJ Statement on Tamron Hall’s Departure From NBC

WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2017) — The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is saddened by Tamron Hall’s departure from NBC. She broke ground as the first black female “Today Show” cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming.

NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.
Published reports suggest Kelly will be replacing “Today’s Takes,” the hour of programming led by Hall and Roker. Roker tweeted last week that the show leads the ratings in its time slot and consistently beats its competition. This achievement deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low ratings performance. Kelly has a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color. On The Kelly File, her Fox News show, the host said then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to a “culture of victimization.”
While NABJ wishes Hall well on her next move, NABJ requests a meeting with NBC leadership on the top-rated show’s dismantling. We look forward to dialogue and resolve regarding black journalists and their continuing roles at NBC both in front and behind the camera.

NABJ Mourns the Loss of Longtime Journalist Ronald Wade

WASHINGTON (Jan . 27, 2017) – The National Association of Black Journalists mourns the loss of longtime journalist Ronald Wade, who died Wednesday after a brief illness. Mr. Wade was 62.

Mr. Wade was news editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he arrived in 2006. Journalists from across the country are remembering and celebrating a colleague known for his knowledge and kind spirit.

“I came to know Ron from his days at the Philadelphia Inquirer,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “He was a warm person and admirable journalist. He is remembered fondly across U.S. newsrooms for his friendship, kindness, precision to detail and strong journalism skills. He encouraged many young journalists along their career paths, and warmly kept in touch via Facebook. He will be truly missed.”

“I can’t put into words what Ron Wade meant to me,” said Marlon A. Walker, NABJ’s vice president of print. Walker was a reporter at the Post-Dispatch from 2010 until 2013. “He always made himself available to me, either as a journalist, a source of endless information or someone who had seen so much of this country and knew all the best places to eat!”

At the Post-Dispatch, colleagues remembered a dedicated journalist with strong intellect and news judgment, said Post-Dispatch Editor Gilbert Bailon.

“Our top editors trusted his decision-making and ability to respond to big news stories from the many nights of protest in Ferguson to major election nights. He was a backbone involved in coordinating coverage among the various desks and also overseeing the website in the evening,” he said. “But even more important, Ron was beloved because of class, grace and great sense of humor. He had a lot of authority to make important decisions. He did so with clarity of thought, strong reasoning and it was always done with great respect for the people involved. Ron never shied away from tough calls, but he did it with aplomb. Respect for him and his friendship with him spanned the entire newsroom. . . The personal and professional loss in our newsroom is huge. All of the Post-Dispatch journalists were blessed to have worked with Ron. And we all miss him dearly.”

His career began in the Chicago Tribune newsroom as a copy editor, and he worked in newsrooms in Louisville, Ky., Long Island and Buffalo, N.Y., Springfield, Va., Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

“This has literally been his entire life,” daughter Tasha Wade said by phone.

Mr. Wade received a bachelor of arts degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

In addition to Tasha, Mr. Wade is survived by his wife, Mollie, and six other children: Lisa, Sharon, Shawn, Aaron, Jaden and Deiontae.

Funeral services for Mr. Wade will be held in his native Chicago on Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Memories Funeral Home, 2024 E. 75th St.

NABJ, 60 other journalism groups, ask Trump administration for meeting on government access

WASHINGTON (Jan. 18, 2017) — The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and 60 other journalism organizations have requested a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to discuss access to government.

The coalition sent a letter today to Trump and Pence, asking for a meeting or conference call to discuss:

the ability of reporters to directly interact with government employees who are subject matter experts, rather than interacting with Public Information Officers (or having all conversations monitored by Public Information Officers);
access to the activities of the President;
and ensuring that the Federal Freedom of Information Act remains as strong as possible.
This letter is the latest among several that were sent to the Obama administration, since at least 2013, regarding concerns about White House restrictions on photographers, transparency and public information officer restrictions.

The first letter, sent Nov. 21, 2013, addressed concerns regarding White House restrictions on photographers. The next letter, sent July 8, 2014, and a follow-up letter sent Aug. 5, 2014, regarding PIO and transparency issues were met with a response from the White House on Aug. 11, 2014, that the groups found unsatisfactory. This white paper and other articles also provide background on the issue.

“We urge you to publicly affirm your commitment to transparency, to issue an executive order prohibiting the restrictive public information policies that have been the status quo, and to engage in a public discussion with us about the Trump administration’s commitment to the free flow of information from the White House and all federal government, to the American people,” the latest letter states.

The groups hope that together, they and the Trump administration can improve the lines of communication between the White House and the press.

For media inquiries contact Aprill Turner, aturner@nabj.org.

About the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ):
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.

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