National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter

Chicago Chapter

Chapter of Vernon Jarrett, NABJ Founder

Rules of the National Association of
Black Journalists
Chicago Chapter

Amended: 1/9/2019

Approved/Effective: 2/11/2009

The following rules are adopted by the Board of Directors pursuant to the Constitution and Bylaws of the NABJ-Chicago Chapter as approved May 21, 2008 to provide procedural guidance to the Organization:

     Chapter name and symbol:

The symbol shall be used only by the organization and its officers in official capacity.

     “Good standing” criteria:

Only persons who are in good standing can serve on the Board of Directors. All candidates for the Board shall be in good standing as of the date of submittal of the Candidate Application and shall remain in good standing through the term of service.

     Electronic Polling of the Board:

      In the event of a need for action by the Board that is deemed emergency in nature, in that it does not allow opportunity for a reasonable time to call a meeting of the Board of Directors, the President or his/her designate shall poll all members of the Board via telephone or electronically to present the motion. Each Board member is required to respond before the motion can be carried forward. A simple majority responding in the affirmative is needed for the proposal to carry forward. The Board of Directors must ratify the action at its next Board meeting.

     Definition of Current Practice:

The term “Current in the practice of journalism” means that, within 12 months of the submittal of a membership application, a candidate for Full Membership has to have full-time employment with a media outlet and that applicant must successfully complete a proper vetting pursuant to Article VII.

     Grandfathering Criterion for Full Membership:

     Any applicant who has achieved a minimum of 15 years of full-time employment in media is, thereafter, entitled to ongoing Full Membership status regardless of any subsequent period of non-employment in media.

     Disciplinary Actions and Revocation of Membership:

The Executive Board shall oversee actions concerning membership discipline and membership revocation. Any member is subject to disciplinary action or revocation of membership if judged by the Executive Board to have breached journalistic ethics, misrepresented the Organization, engaged in improper conduct or behavior that could injure the good name of the Organization, disturb its well-being, or hamper it in its good work.

Notification of the Executive Board’s consideration of revocation shall be provided to the member in question. Notification may be provided electronically. Said member shall be granted the opportunity to offer a written defense for his/her retention in the Organization. In each case, the Executive Board shall establish an appropriate timeline for effecting the revocation action, which shall take no more than 20 days from the date of notification. The defending member may request a hearing in-person. A Special Committee on Discipline and Revocation may be established by the Executive Board for such hearing.

Membership in this Special Committee on is limited to full members. All members involved in actions for discipline or membership revocation are bound to complete confidentially regarding all matters.

     Nominating procedure for election:

The Nominating Committee shall disseminate Candidate Nominating Forms and Candidate Information Forms to the general membership for the purpose of seeking eligible candidates to fill the Board positions for the upcoming term. Any member may nominate a Full Member. Each nominee must consent to candidacy in writing in order to appear on the official ballot. Only Full Members in good standing are eligible to serve on the Board. Only Full Members are entitled to vote for candidates. The Nominating Committee shall vet the candidate information to verify the authenticity and eligibility of each candidate. The standards of eligibility shall be in compliance with the Constitution and By-Laws and subject to the provisions established by Board Resolution, as may be periodically amended.

During February of an election year, the Secretary shall mail to all members in good standing an official Candidate Nomination Form, along with information concerning eligibility requirements, available Board positions and their respective terms and responsibilities. The mailings shall be accomplished by regular post and/or electronically as determined appropriate by the Board. The selected mode for each mailing shall provide all voting members a reasonable assurance of receiving all election related documents and materials in a timely manner.

The completed Candidate Nomination Form – signed, dated and verifiably accurate, as determined through a vetting process – must be received by the Chair of the Nominating Committee no less than 21 calendar days prior to the date of election. 

Each nominee, on the day of submitting his/her Candidate Nomination Form and Candidate Application, shall electronically submit a brief platform statement which addresses his/her qualifications and plans for office. The platform statement shall not exceed 125 words. The platform statement shall be included on the official election ballot. The candidate is responsible for verifying the receipt by the Nominating Committee of his/her documents.

     Vacancies, removals from office and successions:

A member of the Board may be removed from his/her office for dereliction of duty or unethical behavior. A two-thirds majority of the Board vote is required for a removal action to succeed.

Prior to the Board action, the challenged Board member must be provided written notification of the proposed action for removal. The challenged Board member shall be granted thirty (30) calendar days in which to submit a written appeal of the proposed action. The Board may take action only after the thirty (30) day appeal period has expired. During the appeal period, the challenged Board member’s decision-making authority is suspended.

After the Board has voted to remove one of its members from office, the general membership must be notified of the removal.

The membership shall be afforded the opportunity to ratify the removal action. A special meeting of the voting membership shall be called to vote on the issue of removal. Three-fifths of the voting Full Members present at the special meeting are required to overturn the Board’s action for removal.

     NABJ Standard of Conduct

Standards of conduct represent the highest standards of the profession as appropriately adopted by NABJ on April 24, 2005. NABJ-CC wholly adopts the NABJ standards of conduct. Association members are held to the standards as follows:

  • NABJ-CC Full Members are encouraged to become involved in community activities but are expected to disclose their employment or other relationships with those entities that influence or seek to influence the news.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members are encouraged to disclose or refrain from investments or business relationships that actually bring or may appear to bring into question the integrity of their journalistic works. Members are expected to avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should disclose their political contributions to candidates and refrain from making such contributions in areas in which they cover or have journalistic contact.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should not accept free services or payments from news sources or public officials. In the same regard, NABJ members should not pay news sources, offer gifts to, or accept favors from those who seek to influence news coverage.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members are urged to strive for words, images, graphics and sound that report truthfully, honestly and objectively.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should not alter words, images, graphics or sound in a manner that deceives the public. This includes fabricating, or plagiarizing quotations and facts or electronically altering images or sound.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outside agencies, such as those provided in the form of news releases, public relations statements or audio or video releases.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should treat all subjects of news coverage with respect and dignity, particularly victims of crime and tragedy and their families.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should examine freelance opportunities and honoraria for speeches carefully to assure that they are not disguised as gratuities.
  • NABJ-CC Full Members should refrain from surreptitious methods of gathering information or methods that misrepresent their standing except when traditional open methods have been exhausted or will not yield central information vital to the public.
  • Without the explicit authority of the Board, no NABJ-CC member shall present him or herself, in any manner or capacity, as officially representing NABJ-CC. This provision shall in no way limit the authority vested in individual members of the Board of Directors to represent the Association.
  • As an organization that represents members of a racial minority that understands the pain of discrimination, NABJ-CC members should avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

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