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1924 - 2014

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NABJ Congratulates Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press
and the staff of The Boston Globe for Winning the Pulitzer Prize

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (April 16, 2014) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) congratulates Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press and the staff of The Boston Globe for winning the Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s most prestigious award.

The 43-year-old Henderson, editorial page editor at the Free Press, was recognized in the commentary category for his series of editorials that exposed the City of Detroit’s financial collapse and fiscal mismanagement.

“It’s not really sunk in yet. I’m still completely overwhelmed, but, of course, really grateful,” Henderson told the Free Press on Monday after the winners were announced. “The work that we do here is so important right now and so critical to the city.”

The Pulitzer jury lauded Henderson for writing “passionate, unsparing columns on the financial crisis” in Detroit, which is his hometown.

Several NABJ members were recognized when The Boston Globe was announced as the Pulitzer’s breaking-news winner. The newspaper was singled out for its blanket coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. In all, four people lost their lives in the explosion and the manhunt that followed while more than 260 others were wounded near the finish line of the historic race.

“There’s nobody in this room that wanted to cover this story. And each and every one of us hopes that nothing like it ever happens again

on our watch,” Editor Brian McGrory told the Globe staff in wake of its win.

Offering congratulations on behalf of the organization, NABJ President Bob Butler said he is extremely proud of Henderson and the other winning NABJ members.

“Henderson consistently has done outstanding work in Detroit and we’re glad he’s finally getting his due,” Butler said. “As for the Globe staffers, they received a timely reminder of their fine work. The win was announced on the eve of the tragedy’s first anniversary and recognized their efforts just days before next week’s 2014 Boston Marathon.”

Press Release...




NABJ Statement: FCC SSA

March 31, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission today voted to study so-called “shared services” agreements or “SSA’s,” which allow a station owned by one company to provide news for a competing company in the same market.

Since these SSA’s have become widely used, some companies have decided to shut down their newsrooms and contract with a competitor to provide newscasts.

This results in the layoffs of journalists and reduces the diversity of viewpoints that the FCC supports.

I have personally talked to four of these journalists since FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler first announced his intention to take a closer look at this issue on March 6. In some cases the journalists were hired by the new station or were forced to move for a new opportunity. Sometimes they remained unemployed for a length of time or left the media industry altogether.


There are many more people who have been affected by these newsroom “mergers” but cannot talk about it publicly for fear of sanctions by their current employers.

For those who work in these newly “shared” newsrooms, there is more work and less time for in-depth or investigative reporting.

There are also fewer management jobs, leading to less diversity among those who make decisions on news coverage and hiring.






An Open Letter to News Media Startups

March 14, 2014

The journalism world has watched with great interest as a number of digital media startups recently have emerged with promises of being the next game-changer, upending business as usual, disrupting the status quo. Some of these outlets appear to have the potential to produce the next generation of top journalists and thought leaders.

We at the National Association of Black Journalists could not have been more excited. Many of us wondered aloud if this entrepreneurship might also include new and more effective approaches to achieving diversity and inclusion in newsroom staffing and news coverage. After all, these startups will exist primarily on digital platforms, where African Americans and Latinos are proportionately larger consumers of news than whites.

But our excitement has turned to concern as the parade of recent hires hardly reflects a commitment to ensuring that these new newsrooms reflect all the communities they will cover.

While we recognize that the process is still young, NABJ raises the flag now to ensure that diversity is a priority.

Allow us to reintroduce ourselves.

The National Association of Black Journalists, America’s oldest and largest organization for journalists of color, represents more than 3,000 talented media professionals. You probably have worked with some of our members. You no doubt read their work, watch them on television, appear on their programs and compete against them for stories. Our members share your commitment to changing the game and many would like to join you in your new ventures.

Diversity has long been a challenge in legacy newsrooms. The age-old reason given for failed efforts is that managers cannot find qualified candidates of color.

Unfortunately, this refrain already is creeping into the conversation around these startups. And journalists of color are frustrated at feeling shut out of this hiring wave.

Why the disconnect? Simply put, we hardly know each other.

Old relationship networks have become a 21st century club that is predominantly male and almost exclusively white. This club is familiar with, and hires, its own. This has been the trend in legacy media. The same will happen in these new outlets if new relationships are not forged.



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