NABJ Priority: Zero Deficit in 2016
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Posted by: Aprill Turner
The 2015-17 NABJ Board of Directors pledged $7,625 to the association, worked to tackle the multi-year deficit, voted to bolster the NABJ Media Institute by developing a carousel of programming, produced its board meeting at a significant savings to NABJ’s bottom line, and created a new Special Honor Award acknowledging a “Journalist of the Year” from small to medium-sized markets.
Dear NABJ Members:
The 2015-17 National Association of Black Journalists Board of Directors met for its first full meeting last weekend at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel has historic significance, as it’s where NABJ was founded 40 years ago. In addition to conducting the association’s business, the NABJ board took a tour of the facilities to prepare for next year’s joint convention with NAHJ. I can assure you the property is not only cozy with newly renovated rooms, but the space is adaptable and will be a great venue for both NABJ and NAHJ members to gather under one roof.
The NABJ Board of Directors began its term with resounding commitment. During week one, board members made monetary donations to the association. Board members stepped up once again during the board meeting weekend and answered my challenge to pledge additional dollars to the association. We had 100 percent participation and raised $7,625 among board members to celebrate our dedication to NABJ. I encourage members to follow our lead and make a personal donation to propel NABJ forward. Donate to NABJ here.
Kevin Merida, the new editor-in-chief of ESPN’s “The Undefeated” website, kicked off the NABJ board meeting with a presentation on journalism, leadership and new challenges. NABJ founders Maureen Bunyan and Paul Brock provided an overview of NABJ 40 years in the making as they shared remembrances of the association’s founding. The board also heard from attorney George Lehner, who provided an overview of board ethics, roles and fiduciary responsibilities. Distance couldn’t keep Loyola University Chicago’s Jill Geisler away. In an exercise titled “Confidence in the Face of Risk,” Jill took the board through trust-building leadership training via Skype.
Washington Post Homepage Editor Sharif Durhams gave a presentation about journalism’s digital future and board members took a field trip to NPR to discuss jobs and diversity with Michael Oreskes, Senior Vice President, News and Editorial Director and Keith Woods, Vice President for Diversity in News and Operations.
The board directly tackled the business of the association with the help of former NABJ Presidents Bryan Monroe of Temple University and Greg Lee of NBA.com, who also serves as the Finance Committee Chairman. The board heard a 2015 convention report from Minneapolis Chairman Rod Hicks of the Associated Press and received greetings from Washington Association of Black Journalists president Donna Walker.
More information on the NABJ Media Institute for 2016 is forthcoming, but expect a program on #BlackTwitter in February to kick off the yearlong program schedule.
I proposed NABJ explore partnerships with UNESCO to develop global journalism training initiatives and to develop a training certificate program with Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism & Communication. The board voted to create a new Special Honor Award acknowledging a “Journalist of the Year” from small to medium-sized markets.
The NABJ Board will host a 40th anniversary event in Washington, D.C. on December 12. More details regarding the celebration are forthcoming next week.
The NABJ Strategic Plan process is in its infancy phase. As we begin the process of planning for a sound future for NABJ, we must also look back and assess our present financial footing and organizational health. This NABJ Board will tackle the recent instability of NABJ’s finances head-on. You can read NABJ Treasurer Greg Morrison’s board meeting report in the Members-Only section at nabj.org.
At the 2015 NABJ Convention in Minneapolis, the previous NABJ Board of Directors informed the membership that NABJ was tracking to end the year with a nearly $250,000 deficit. This comes on the heels of a $227,000 deficit in 2014, a $612,000 deficit in 2009 and a $60,000 deficit in 2012.
After an exhaustive review of NABJ’s financial position and a final accounting of all financial obligations from the 2015 convention, NABJ’s projected 2015 deficit will be higher than the previous board reported at the 2015 convention. The projected deficit is likely going to be nearly $380,000.
NABJ cannot have another deficit year in 2016.
NABJ’s Finance Committee presented numerous recommendations to the board, including:
· Limit outsourcing and contracts;
· Develop a funded budget for printed products or publish digitally;
· Reduce operating expenses
· Hold biweekly development and finance meetings; and
· Hold the January NABJ board meeting remotely.
The 2015-17 NABJ Board of Directors are taking these immediate steps to stabilize NABJ’s finances:
· Adopt zero-based budgeting;
· Execute a 40th Anniversary reception, membership drive and giving campaign to generate fourth- quarter revenue;
· Develop sponsored, year-long Media Institute programming;
· Work with NAHJ to minimize expenses and financial obligations related to the 2016 convention planning;
· Move the Hall of Fame event to the 2016 convention;
· Limit spending to only necessary operational expenses;
· Prepare the 2016 budget with reduced projected expenses;
· Create a corporate partnerships concierge system to respond to partner needs, and offer multi-year partnership opportunities;
· Develop 30, 60 and 90 revenue-generating plans; and
· Duplicate the 2015 board meeting travel savings and demonstrated spending restraint at future NABJ meetings and events.
The NABJ Board is working to stabilize the association’s financial position with transparency. We are thinking forward and working to ensure NABJ becomes more disciplined via zero-based budgeting. NABJ will continue to offer cutting-edge training programs to members and services to our partners. I’m encouraged by this board’s commitment as demonstrated by its member pledges and by the strategic planning process we are about to undergo, thanks to the $100,000 Ford Foundation grant. I am optimistic that we will be able to turnaround the fortunes of the association and bolster NABJ to new heights.
I look forward to sharing NABJ’s 40th Anniversary plans early next week. In the meantime, please save the date and plan to be in Washington, D.C., on December 12 for an afternoon program on the actual anniversary date of NABJ’s founding.
I think it’s important that members know what is going on with their association and I will continue to keep you abreast of NABJ’s progress.
Yours in Service,