NABJ RoundUp — Convention Special
President’s Letter: A Call to Action
NABJ family, we made history! Our first virtual convention, NABJ-NAHJ 2020, was a huge success.
With 3,713 registrants, NABJ-NAHJ 2020 was our sixth-highest registration count in our convention history. For 80 percent of our registrants, the NABJ-NAHJ convention was their first virtual experience. 96 percent were satisfied in some way. 90 percent would recommend the NABJ-NAHJ virtual convention to others. You, the members, made this a success. We thank you for believing this was possible and making it so. We thank you for joining us as we braved uncharted waters and made NABJ an industry leader in the virtual journalism space.
If we could, we would rest on our laurels, but we can’t. There is much more work to be done. Too many of our members still face hostile work environments, experience microaggressions, discrimination, limited upper mobility and inequity in pay. They receive few opportunities to work on coveted assignments or to participate in specialty units. They also do not receive the training and mentoring often given to their White counterparts, and their voices are silenced when it comes to story development and where the news organizations target their coverage.
In newsrooms around the country, Black journalists are taking a stand and demanding fairness and justice. We applaud you. We support you. We are joining you. The NABJ Board is holding a series of meetings with CEOs, publishers and corporate heads from all platforms demanding they deliver on decades of promises to increase the number of Black journalists at all levels of the news industry, especially in top management. At this year’s convention, we introduced a new hashtag to underscore our demand for change, #FairNewsroomsNow.
NABJ also continues to monitor news coverage. Quite frankly, we have been dismayed at the number of racial incidents in the media that insult or offend the Black community and sometimes Black journalists. NABJ Media Monitoring Chair Eric Deggans recently created a tip sheet to help our local chapters respond to these incidents. https://conta.cc/2H5Xd7z. The National Board always stands ready to assist.
The changes we are demanding in coverage and in the newsroom are bigger than journalism. These changes ultimately will lead to stories that tell the truths about Black America, truths that will contribute to a more equitable country and perhaps lead to a more equitable world.
Yours in Service,
Dorothy Tucker/NABJ President/ CBS Chicago Investigative Reporter/@Dorothy4NABJ
Founder Norma Adams-Wade: NABJ’s Virtual Voyage
Greetings Again, My Fellow Voyagers
The Starship Enterprise has landed, and as one of NABJ’s 44 Founders, I am thrilled to have been aboard. I am having fun with this Star Trek analogy. I am having even more fun writing to congratulate our NABJ-NAHJ leaders — and you, my NABJ travel companions — on a successful voyage during our first-ever virtual annual convention & career fair in the stratosphere.
This is a follow-up to the May 12, 2020, letter I wrote for the NABJ newsletter in which I compared our first virtual convention to a Star Trek experience and urged our members and aspirants to join the adventure. For the young ones, Star Trek was a wildly popular 1960s television series. It featured odysseys of spaceship Captain James T. Kirk and his futuristic crew. The show opened with the now iconic statement, “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” (Apologies to the women.)
I am proud to say we ventured into our uncharted virtual convention territory and successfully completed our mission. As I mentioned in my previous letter, all kudos go to our fearless leaders — Madam President Dorothy Tucker, Executive Director Drew Berry, their tireless and skilled staff and support teams, and our Board of Directors.
I previously compared this avant-garde 2020 pursuit to when we, the Founders, blasted off 45 years ago (come December) not knowing where our pioneering decision to organize this body would lead. Also, as I said previously, we had neither a road map nor a mission control center to guide us. The success of our venture is that our original 44 is now well over 3,000 members strong.
We succeeded then and we have succeeded now. This virtual trek is now in the books. It’s a done deal rather than a no-deal — yet, one that might not have happened at all. That’s my point. You have to have someone with a vision. And you have to have someone with execution. Our team at the top showed us that they had vision and execution. Rather than having to say that 2020 was the year when the coronavirus halted our annual launch, we can say NABJ-NAHJ successfully blasted off full speed ahead.
I previously urged our members to sign up for this first-ever virtual endeavor, accept that there surely would be technical glitches, decide in advance to forgive them, and be determined to keep it moving. Were there glitches? Yes. Were some meal deliveries foiled? A few. Did that and other disconnects stop the music or the show? No! That’s the good news, and I’m happy to deliver it. I hope our leaders and supporters have rested well by now, because we still have the future of Black journalists to save. So, all aboard and fasten your seat belts!
Founder Norma Adams-Wade
The Dallas Morning News/Texas Metro News/The Garland Journal/I Messenger Media, LLC/TMN Blog Talk Radio
Read the rest of the rest of the summary here.