2015 Convention Photo Highlights

2015 NABJ Student Monitor 






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NABJ Mourns the Loss of Former President Sidmel Estes

NABJ mourns the passing of former NABJ President Sidmel Estes (1991-93). Estes was the first woman to be elected president of the association. She also served as an NABJ regional director and president of the Atlanta chapter. Estes, 60, died October 6.

Estes began her career at WAGA-TV/Fox 5 in Atlanta, where she served as the executive producer of numerous programs. 

She was the co-creator and executive producer of “Good Day Atlanta,” which became the number one show in its market and won seven Emmy Awards under her direction. In 2006, Estes left WAGA-TV to start BreakThrough Inc., a media consulting firm with clients including the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, the McCormick Tribune Fellows Foundation, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry. She also taught as an adjunct professor at Emory University and Clark Atlanta University.

A pioneer and journalism industry veteran, Estes' contributions will never be forgotten.

"NABJ grieves for Miss Sidmel. Our hearts are so heavy. Sidmel's in-your-face leadership style was my introduction to the best of NABJ as a new student member in 1993," NABJ President Sarah Glover said. 

"'Holy smokes! This lady is for real,' I thought. She took news organizations to task and members, too. If you were not doing right, she would not hesitate to let you know. Sidmel was an admired journalist and loving mother. She was the working woman that media moms could model and aspire to be. She handled all her roles gracefully.

"I'm so sad she is gone, but her passion and love for NABJ lives on in all of us."  

During Estes’ tenure as president of the association, NABJ increased its membership to more than 2,000 journalists and was included in Ebony magazine’s list of Top 100 Black Organizations. In 1994, she was a leader and co-creator of the first UNITY: Journalists of Color conference, and was instrumental in the release of its report, “Kerner Plus 25: A Call For Action,” which outlined steps the media industry should take to improve racial diversity.

More here.


Secret meeting at D.C. hotel births NABJ

By Jordyn Holman
Special from the NABJ Monitor

NABJ's first meeting came to order in an undisclosed room at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. It was a hushed affair on Friday, Dec. 12, 1975, where entry was allowed to only working black journalists.

The room — within a hotel that some founders say had a solid reputation of welcoming African Americans as guests — was packed with reporters and television producers from around the country. Some had received letters in the mail saying that black journalists were going to make one more attempt to form a nationwide coalition and they should get to D.C.


Others were covering Jesse Jackson and a conference for other black politicians being held at the same hotel. That conference gave some journalists a cover so no one would know what was happening, while others journalists wandered into the meeting not knowing what they were getting themselves into.

One of them was Allison Davis, a 22-year-old TV producer at a station in Boston. She was heading to a party when she learned about the secret meeting from a friend. Recognizing several faces in the room, including broadcast reporters Max Robinson and Maureen Bunyan, Davis decided to stay.

“It was all new to me. There was energy. There was excitement. There was chaos,” said Davis, who was named NABJ parliamentarian at that meeting after she redirected the conversation. “I just remember it as the start of something that

was going to be fresh, enlightening, powerful and never thought it would be for 40 years.”

With the room packed with close to 100 journalists, the conversation was all over the place. The organization that would become NABJ was forming at a time when several other associations for black professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, were popping up.

The swath of professionals went back and forth on which side of the industry — print or broadcast — would represent the face of the organization.

Some journalists, many whose names would not make it to the founders list, contemplated if they were compromising their jobs by even sitting in that room.

“We started to put it together, but we knew we were wandering into a problem,” said founding executive director Paul Brock. 

More here.



NABJ Convention Ceremony Highlights Four Decades of Service

By Aniya Spears, Melisa Robles Olivar, Sydney Kuykindall, Marissa Abara and Ernest Marshall
Special from the JSHOP Reporter

Excitement and anticipation filled the air as members of the world’s largest and oldest organization for journalists of color gathered to celebrate four decades of service at its welcoming ceremony.

The National Association of Black Journalists’ bash at the Minneapolis Convention Center downtown, opened its doors as hundreds of attendees were greeted in a procession including NABJ board members and several of the organization’s living founders. Big screens displayed social media posts and local events. Music blared in the background, while blue strobe lights danced around the room.


"It was the kickoff to NABJ’s 40th Convention and Career Fair. Members, students, founders and others associated with the organization attended the ceremony. There were performances, skits and other memorable moments.

The NABJ convention honors African American people and issues that matter to the public. This convention also honors the work of media organizations and individuals who work with various kinds of journalism including; broadcast, print and online.

“The organization was founded at a time when it was difficult for Black journalists to obtain employment, and when coverage of our community was unfair and filled with stereotypes. This was common in mainstream media organizations,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “So, because these issues still exist, we are here together this week to honor this association and the 44 men and women who founded it.”

Sam Ford, a founder and lifetime NABJ member from Washington, D.C, said, “This year I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting other journalists. Since I started my career in Minneapolis, it is really great to be back. Our first convention was more of a meeting, but it has grown quite a bit since.”

During the NABJ Salute to Excellence event, awards will be handed out, such as NABJ Journalist of the year, Emerging Journalist and Lifetime Achievement honorees. Each year NABJ donates about $100,000 in scholarships to eligible members.

Meanwhile, during the opening reception program, the names and pictures of the 44 founders were displayed on a video screen. Then, four selected students, including two JSHOP members, Will Rivers and Lexy Whyte, read sections from the NABJ Constitution and placed medallions around the necks of the 12 founders who were present. 

More here.







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