NABJ Honors Dr. Shelley Stewart with 2013 Community Service Award
Friday, April 12, 2013
Posted by: Tiane Johnson
D.C. (April 12, 2013) – The National
Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce that Dr. Shelley
Stewart is the recipient of the association’s 2013 Community Service Award. Dr.
Stewart is a broadcast journalist, President and CEO of O2Ideas, and founder of
The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.
Dr. Stewart will be honored this
summer at NABJ's 38th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Orlando, FL, during
the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala on Saturday, Aug. 3. The gala recognizes
journalists who best cover the black experience and/or address issues affecting
the worldwide black community.
He spent the early part of his career as a widely recognized broadcast
journalist, using the profession to become an agent of change. During the
1960’s, under the moniker "Shelley the Playboy” DJ, Dr. Stewart used his voice
in the media to broadcast coded messages to Birmingham, Alabama’s black
listeners and provided information about civil rights protests, meetings
and other events.
Eventually, Dr. Stewart was able to purchase a radio station and co-found a
marketing and advertising firm, called O2Ideas, one of the largest
minority-owned marketing and advertising firms in the country.
Losing a brother serving a life
sentence without the possibility of parole was the impetus for the creation of
the documentary "InsideOuT,” which was launched simultaneously in 2007 with the
Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. The documentary came about as a result of
Stewart’s prison visits with his late brother. "InsideOut” is a 26-minute
documentary that reveals the stories of lifers, in their own words, and exposes
the lasting and devastating effects that can occur when one drops out of
school. Community leaders, parents, and educators in 47 states and Canada have
had the experience of viewing the documentary.
"Dr. Stewart’s work has had a positive impact on the students and their
communities. Students who go through the program say they didn’t realize how
harsh life is in prison and how the odds of going there dramatically increase
without an education,” said NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. "NABJ is proud to
salute Dr. Stewart for using his platform to reduce the dropout rate, increase
the graduation rate, and give hope and a sense of purpose to our children.”
Tens of thousands of children have viewed the documentary video produced by his
organization The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. The video features prisoners
candidly talking about life behind bars. The prisoners say they now realize
their lives would have turned out differently had they continued their
The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation offers other unique programming which has
impacted the lives of more than two million students in 19 states.
"He sees his life story as a testament to the power of an education,” says
Corlette Stewart, Shelley’s daughter. "He has committed himself to saving as
many children as possible from ruining their lives. He stresses the importance
of education, so that the young people who cross his path won’t fall into a
life of drugs and crime. If we just save one child, we’re making progress.”
At age 78, Dr. Stewart shows no signs of slowing down. He does at least 30
speaking engagements each year and is known to make pro bono appearances on
occasion. Dr. Stewart remains steadfast in his commitment to his public affairs
roots. Currently, Dr. Stewart is the host of quarterly town hall meetings
entitled "Birmingham Kitchen Table Discussions.” The discussions are designed
to bridge gaps and improve cultural and race relations in Birmingham.
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 more information, please visit www.nabj.org.