BOSTON (August 3, 2014) - National Association of Black Journalists President Bob Butler announced Saturday that longtime member Rod Hicks will serve as chair of the 2015 Convention and Career Fair, to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, next summer as the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Hicks, an editor for The Associated Press, previously served as chair of NABJ's conventions in Philadelphia in 2011 and New Orleans in 2012. He served as deputy chair of this year's convention, which ended this morning in Boston.
"Work on the 40th anniversary convention has already started. Rod has the experience, vision and energy to make sure it is a rousing success," Butler said.
Hicks works at AP's Philadelphia-based East Regional Desk, which manages news coverage in 10 states. He earned a master's degree in newspaper management from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in mass communication from the University of Alabama.
"We're going to make sure our programming is informative, relevant and helpful, but we're also going to honor the work of our brave founders who made the last four decades possible," Hicks said. "You can look forward to an exciting and memorable event."
Hicks joined NABJ 25 years ago and has attended every convention since 1989. He served on the organization's national board in the early 1990s as a regional director representing members in six Southern states. His wife, Velvet S. McNeil, has served as chair of NABJ's annual photo auction for the last four years. They have a 2-month-old daughter, Zori.
Butler also announced that Deirdre Childress Hopkins, programming chair for the Boston convention, will return in that role for the Minneapolis convention. Hopkins is strategic communications manager for the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Hopkins served on the NABJ board as vice president-print during the 2009-2011 term and previously served as national secretary.
"Deirdre pays great attention to detail and I'm pleased she has agreed to return as programming chair for 2015," Butler said.
The 2015 convention will be held Aug. 5-9, 2015 at the Hilton Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center.
NABJ was established as an advocacy group in 1975 in Washington, D.C., and is now the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation. It provides career development, educational support and other services to its members worldwide.