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News & Press: NABJ News

Former NABJ President Sidmel Estes to be Honored with Ida B. Wells Award

Tuesday, June 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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WASHINGTON June 14, 2016 -The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University announce that former NABJ President Sidmel Estes (1991-93) will be honored with the 2016 Ida B. Wells Award.

NABJ and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University jointly and proudly each year give the prestigious Ida B. Wells Award to an individual who has provided distinguished leadership in increasing access and opportunities to people of color in journalism, and in improving the coverage of communities of color in American media.

"Miss Sidmel's pioneering spirit as the first female president of our beloved organization has had lasting impact. She developed a new generation of NABJ leaders with her steadfast advocacy and bold attention to the industry's diversity failures," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "In her own newsroom, she encouraged young producers and reporters to excel at their craft and to produce exceptional journalism. She was very pointed in ensuring coverage was inclusive of black and minority communities."

The Ida B. Wells award is named in honor of the distinguished journalist, fearless reporter and wife of one of America's earliest black publishers. Wells was "editor and proprietor" of theMemphis Free Speech and Headlight. Estes is being recognized for her many years as a top executive producer, television news manager, and for her historic role as the first woman to serve as president of NABJ.

"It is an honor to recognize Sidmel Estes as one of the most intelligent, hard-working, dedicated, trailblazing journalists of our time," said Ava Thompson Greenwell, Charles Whitaker and Loren Ghiglione, co-curators of the award and professors at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  "As the first woman to lead NABJ, Sidmel was the bright and bold star that journalism needed to shine the light on itself. Her star went dark much too soon."

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.

During Estes' tenure as NABJ president, the association 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.

Estes died suddenly last year. The Estes family will be presented with her award during NABJ's Annual Convention and Career Fair in Washington, D.C., Aug. 3-7, 2016. Past recipients of the honor include distinguished media industry leaders such as USA Today founder Al Neuharth, former Washington Post Publisher Don Graham, former NBC News President Steve Capus, former NBCUniversal executive Paula Madison, veteran recruiters Sheila Solomon and Reggie Stuart and columnist Richard Prince, along with diversity executives Walterene Swanston, Bobbi Bowman, and Johnita Due.

About The National Association of Black Journalists:
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. 

About Medill School of Journalism:
Based at Northwestern University in Chicago, Medill has a long-standing reputation for journalism excellence. As the media industry undergoes unprecedented change, Medill leads the way and trains a new generation of multimedia journalists and communicators who will not only thrive in this evolving media landscape but also help shape it.


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